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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

08 Mar '13

a messy world and messy leaders

We often think of our Biblical heroes as people who were born that way. Just the opposite is true. We have always lived in a messy world and our Biblical heroes were no exception.

Take Moses, for example. We know him as the guy who rescued God's  people from slavery, as a deeply humble guy and one who talked to God face to face. I can't compete with that. But what we forget is that he too had a messy background and it took God 80 years to prepare him for his life assignment.

Everyone has issues and so did Moses. Consider this. While he grew up in wealth, splendor and privilege as a member of the Pharaoh's household he knew who he was: an Israelite who should have been a slave rather than royalty. Talk about identity issues!

Those issues came to a head when at 40, Moses took justice into his own hands, killed an Egyptian who was mistreating an Israelite and was forced to run for his life, ending up as a shepherd in another land. In one day he went from privilege and wealth to working as a shepherd with nothing to his name. In addition he now was a felon and a wanted man. Obviously he had an anger management problem.

I would guess that for the forty years he worked as a shepherd (he didn't even have his own flock but looked after the flock of his father in law) he felt like he was a has been. He had blown his chance, God would never use him for anything and he was consigned to a forgotten existence and a wasted life. 

If you doubt that, think of Moses' conversation with God at the burning bush. Finally God was calling him to something and Moses kept pushing back. Why? He felt unqualified, lacked the confidence to say yes, and gave all manner of excuses with a final comment, "O Lord, please send someone else." Of course, God never calls us to do anything that we can do by ourselves but only in His power but it took quite a while for God to convince Moses of that.

Of course God had different ideas. God is never in a hurry and he is always up to something. During those year from 40 to 80, while Moses felt he was stuck on a shelf, God was developing a relationship with Moses that would sustain him through the next 40 years in the wilderness leading a people tough to lead.

Four lessons emerge from Moses past. First, God can redeem any past for His divine purposes. Even our pasts! Second, while we may think we have been put on a shelf, God is always up to something, preparing us for what He has for us. Third, God never calls us to do anything we can do by ourselves. Why should He? His work is a divine work that requires divine power. Fourth, God uses regular people to do His divine work in the power of His Holy Spirit. 

Moses had a past with a lot of issues, just like we do. Yet he used Moses just as He desires to use us.