Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"Reluctant Leaders"

Psalm 90.17 NASU 

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; And confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands.”

The Spoken Law by Paul Gulacy
Colin Powell was the highest ranking African American government official in the history of the United States before the current administration.[1] Born in New York City’s Harlem in 1937, Powell served as a General in the United States Army, National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Persian Gulf War, and the United States Secretary of State under President George W. Bush. He is a man of peace who believes war to be a “failure of diplomacy”. Good leaders, asserts Powell, must do “everything they can to avoid war”. That’s why he refers to himself the “Reluctant General”.[2]

Moses was also a “reluctant general” who did not seek to lead two million people from bondage through a forty year wilderness journey to the promised land. “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”, cried Moses (Exodus 3.11). He didn’t want to do it but God made Him. Sometimes things work out that way. God has a plan and, reluctant though you may be, cooperate you must.

Psalm 90 is attributed to Moses and records his plea for God’s help in leading God’s people. Moses ends his prayer with an appeal for confirmation…

“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us;
And confirm for us the work of our hands;
Yes, confirm the work of our hands.”

One of the obvious benefits in serving as a leader in the church, community, or government is the confirmation we receive by doing so. In fact, without measurable confirmation of our role, we cannot possibly fulfill it. General Powell received many such confirmations in the form of countless awards, medals, military ribbons, and decorations throughout his brilliant career. These included the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Moses also received confirmation of his success as a leader when God performed miraculous plagues in Egypt (Exodus 7-12), parted the Red Sea for 2,000,000 Israelites (Exodus 14), opened the earth to swallow up Moses’ defectors (Numbers 16), dropped manna from heaven (Exodus 16), and poured water from a rock (Numbers 20).

Colin Powell and Moses... both “reluctant” leaders who paid the price for their calling and received the confirmation of their success. Are you “reluctant” to step into a leadership role? You’re not alone. But if you are called to lead, then lead. Ask God to bestow His “favor” and “confirm the work of [your] hands”. When He does, you will know you’re on the right leadership track.
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[1] President Barak Obama, elected the 44th President of the United States on November 4th, 2008, and sworn in on January 20th, 2009, is now the highest ranking African American government official in the history of the United States.   

[2] From a pre-recorded interview between Bill Hybels and Colin Powell on August 10th at the 2007 Leadership Summit hosted by Willow Creek Association.

The incredible drawing at the top of this blog entry is entitled “The Spoken Law” and was created by my friend and well-known comic book artist Paul Gulacy in 1997. The piece is used by permission of the artist and depicts Moses at the foot of Mount Sinai with his staff and Commandments of God in hand. Paul gave me a print which I framed and hung in my study. I am inspired by this picture of courageous leadership every single day.

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