Numbers 17:1—11; 1 Corinthians 12:24–28 (read online ⧉)
Follow the Leader is not just a game for children. It is the life of adults. Each of us has at least one leader in our lives, and usually more. Leaders can take on many roles and places. For example, a pastor may be your spiritual leader. You might have another person that also provides you spiritual leadership.
In your home, there is usually a leader. Sometimes it seems to be the pet and not a person. In our work lives, there is usually a leader. Then politically we have leaders, and there are community leaders, too.
Each leader has a place and a purpose. The leaders that overreach or the people who push their leaders to overreach can often sow discord and confusion.
In Numbers, we read what is really the conclusion to a long struggle for who really is the leader of the people. Along “the road”, people regularly challenged Moses’ leadership (including his siblings, Aaron and Miriam). The family leaders tried to say they were the leaders of the entire community. They weren’t satisfied leading their tribe. They wanted all of Israel.
When it came to Aaron’s priestly assignment, some leaders tried to do their own worship and suffered the consequences. They could not accept that one person “got the glory”.
This not to say that Moses and Aaron were perfect, not by a long shot. They made mistakes. It is quite possible that part of the constant struggle wasn’t just the pride of the other family leaders, but Moses’ and Aaron’s failures, too.
In the specific case of Moses and Aaron, however, there was a unique circumstance. God had appointed them their roles directly. How the family leaders gained their authority is by accident of birth. God called Moses and Aaron directly.
Each leader has a sphere of responsibility, authority, and influence. We often confuse the 3, however, which can lead to failures. Over time each of those can change, too.
Paul lists outs apostles, prophets, teachers, miracle-workers, healers, helpers, leaders, tongues. It’s an interesting mix of roles. Oddly enough, one would think (especially the way the world thinks) that apostles, prophets, and teachers would be (by definition) leaders. Yet, Paul separates leaders. What this tells us that certain roles that we believe are automatically leaders aren’t necessarily so. This doesn’t fit into our mental boxes.
We understand that someone can be a “thought” leader, but the idea that someone in supposed authority is not a leader can be hard to grasp. Yet, if you think about it, if you were a carpenter, you wouldn’t necessarily follow the horseman as he built a house.
Lord, help us to have as lord in our lives. Grace us with wisdom to see the small quiet leaders in our lives, that we might follow you better. Grant us the eyes to see those you have called us to lead, that we fulfill your calling on our lives in regards to the lives of others. Amen.
1) For you, what are the top 3 characteristics of a leader? What are 2 of the worst characteristics you’ve seen in a leader?
2) Why does leadership matter to God?
3) Where are you a leader in your life?