Exodus 4:1-17, Hebrews 5:1-6
Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’”
The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?
Moses replied, “My smartphone, Lord.”
And God said unto Moses, “Good. Begin working on increasing your platform immediately. It is true that the people will not believe you now, but if you can double your Twitter following and increase the reach of your Instagram account, then the people will respect you as a leader. If you can angle your way into a better job with a more important title, then my people will hear your voice and respond. If you can make just a little more money, or be seen as the most powerful man in the room, then the people of Israel will follow you. If you buy better clothes and wear nicer shoes, then my people will know you are called to be their leader.”
This is a paraphrase not so much of the Bible, but of the human heart.
Sometimes if feels more natural to seek leadership and influence not by the power of God, but by our own strength and will. Clearly, God would never say something like this; but I think the desire to make our own name great runs deep. It can trick us into thinking that the pursuit of glory in the name of God is the same thing as glorifying God. It can also trick us into becoming much more comfortable with relying on our talents and strengths than on the supernatural power of God.
One of my favorite professors in seminary always challenged us to search our hearts and think clearly about our motives and methods for approaching leadership positions. His basic premise was this: if you feel like you’ve smooth-talked or influenced (or platform-ed) your way into a position of leadership, then it’s hard to know if you weaseled your way into power or if God has actually called you to that place. Working your way to leadership through your own strength could actually pay off in the short run, but when the going gets tough, it’s highly likely that you’ll waver.
The best positions of leadership are the ones you know you couldn’t have attained without the intervention of the Most High.
Moses was in such a place. There was no way that he could have confronted Pharaoh and triumphed because of his bravado. There was no way the Israelites would’ve have followed him on account of his clever speeches or military prowess. The only way Moses could account for progress was by the hand of God.
It was the same for Aaron! “No one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was” (Hebrews 5.4).
Moses succeeded because he knew that it was really God who was paving the way for change and redemption. The signs of the staff and the leprous hand were proof not just to Pharaoh’s court, but also to Moses, that God was doing this work.
We can’t force God’s hand. We can only follow His lead. With that in mind, we should examine our own hearts and motivations. A good thing done for the wrong reasons or in the wrong way can have disastrous results. How are you caring for your family? Your co-workers? Your friends? Are you operating out of a place of self-contrived power? Or do you seek divinely given influence?
Man may be impressed by the outward appearance, but remember—God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
Written By Andrew Stoddard