Monday, January 18, 2016

Leading with Arms Raised

There is little debate when discussing Moses as one of the great leaders of the Bible. Obedient to God in leading the Israelites out of Egypt and ensuring they followed the commandments God had for His people, Moses is arguably at the top of the effective leadership list. What I love about studying Moses is that even though he felt inadequate, he didn't let his limitations overcome the power of God within him.

leading with arms raised
There are many of us that work in some form of leadership. In my opinion, anyone that has a role that others look up to and rely on to press on toward a common goal is defined as a leader. You could be anything from a parent to a teacher, a manager, or an administrator.

Like Moses, it is easy to start making excuses when we don't feel confident in the execution of our leadership position. Moses excuse was his speech impediment and lack of confidence in his ability to persuade pharaoh to let the Israelites out of Egypt; even though God said He would be with Moses the whole time. Overcoming all excuses and limitations, Moses became a great leader. God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called. God makes a way for those He places in positions to lead and the story in Exodus 17 is a picture of leadership that I believe can help us to achieve our goals and succeed in our efforts as we lead others.
"The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands." Exodus 17:8-9
Moses knows there are tough times ahead. His people are about to face the enemy so he assigns/delegates one of his closest confidants, someone he was mentoring (Joseph), to take a group to go out and fight. But instead of Moses going with him to battle, Moses does something many leaders don't do; he goes the opposite direction and stands on top of a hill. Now, many in leadership would say, 'We need to be in the fight with them! If we don't fight with them, how can we ensure they complete the task?' Take a minute to follow with me as I argue, what Moses did, is a more effective leadership strategy that may result in better outcomes and ultimately, the ability to achieve the vision or goal.

On top of the mountain, Moses has a bird's eye view of what his men are doing. Many say being a good leader requires that we have a great vision. We need to know where we are going, and what it takes for us to get there. How do we know what we are doing unless there is a goal to attain?
"So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning." Exodus 17:10-11
With hands lifted high, as he stands in vision of his men, Moses calls out to God to fight for the Israelites. As the leader, Moses doesn't put faith in his own ability. He doesn't rely on his skills, or take over with his own knowledge. No, Moses calls out for God to take over. What Moses teaches us is, with hands lifted high calling out to God, we can be the effective leaders God called us to be because we are putting our faith in God to fight for us. We are depending on the one who put us in the position in the first place.
"...for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." Romans 13:1
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform as leaders because we don't want to be a disappointment. I don't know about you, but I often try to rely too much on my own ability. Many times, as a result of that, I fall short which effects execution of the task. Thus widening the gap between where we are and the vision laid out ahead.

In my opinion, it is the next part of the story where we often miss it as leaders. Moses didn't go up on the mountain by himself. He had others go with him.
"When Moses' hands grew tired, they [Aaron and Hur] took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up - one on one side, one on the other - so that his hands remained steady until sunset." Exodus 17:14
Sometimes, we forget that we need others around us to support our efforts, to help us press forward, and to pray with us in order to fight against the enemy charged to defeat us in reaching our goals. Aaron and Hur, having the same vision and goals as Moses, climbed the mountain with him. They were by his side the entire time. When Moses grew weary, Aaron and Hur held him up, encouraged him, and aided Moses as he lifted his arms up to God.
praying"Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am with them." Matthew 18:19-20
What was the result of this team effort when the leader called out to God?
"So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword." Exodus 17:13
 It doesn't matter what our position is; we could be a parent, leader for an organization, a manager, an administrator, or a teacher. What we need to remember is God places people in positions of authority and, because of this, it is through Him that we need to place our faith. Instead of being the kind of leader that completely relies on their own ability to carry out the tasks, we need to call out to God! With two or three others by our side, we should lead with lifted hands in praise asking God to not only show us His vision for us as leaders but also the path He wants us to take in order to succeed.

6 comments :

  1. I ll be perfectly honest.. I grew up in a Christian home, was forced to go to church 4 x a week, went to a Christian School..was not allowed any friends outside church and school. I was only allowed to attend a Christian College. I haven't so much as glanced at the Bible since I graduated. I understand your ideas in using Moses and Aaron as examples in how God can use us for his purpose, no matter our shortcomings . But not all Great Leaders are Christians or allow God to direct them. So I think your post can be very inspirational for someone looking for guidance with similar beliefs. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and for your honesty. It is sad to hear that you had a bad experience growing up. Unfortunately, humans have a habit of making more of "religious" acts rather than focus on having a "relationship" with Jesus. It took me more than 25 years to finally understand, God wanted me to know Him through knowing His Son. It isn't about how many times we attend "church" (a building) or read the Bible. It's about knowing Jesus and accepting Him as our Savior. When we receive the free gift of the Holy Spirit and understand the grace he gives, that's when we want to know more through His Word. That's when we want to share and serve with others within the organization of the Church (not just going to a church building).

      I agree with you that not all great leaders are Christians, but those that walk in favor with God, become the light of Christ to others who seek to know Him. It is their quest to bring Him glory that inspires many.

      Sarah, you are welcome to stop by and share your thoughts anytime! It would be a great pleasure to discuss further with you. :) May you be blessed and I will pray that you find it in your heart to reconsider the gift of grace Jesus has opened for you.

      Amanda

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  2. We are definitely on the same wavelength this month, talking about leadership. I really enjoyed being reminded about Moses and how he became a leader, even though he was a reluctant one. When we take a step back and watch what is going on around us, we can often fix the things that aren't going quite right. And by bringing in others beside us, we can make sure we are always being held accountable for the way in which we are leading.

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    1. Yes ma'am! Sometimes I need to stop trying to control everything and allow others to help and support as we are all united to achieve the same goals. Thanks for sharing a comment Amy! Stop by anytime!

      Amanda

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  3. I agree! It's very important not attempt to do things in our own strength. More often than not, God gives us assignments that can only be completed successfully be relying on Him.

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