THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
THE GREAT MOSES
August 9, 2011
Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 31:1-8
Moses was one of the greatest figures in salvation history.
After serving the Lord so long, through intense hardships
and stiff-necked opposition from God’s people, tasked
with bringing them into the promised land, Moses was not allowed
to cross the Jordan. This had been his driving vision, the
fulfillment of God’s call, but at the end of his life,
he would not enter into the promised land but would die in
could have complained. After all, he had gone through so much
for the Lord. He had been faithful and steadfast. More than
anyone else, he deserved to be rewarded. But no. He humbly
accepted what God had decided for him. He simply said, “the
Lord has told me that I shall not cross this Jordan.”
could have grumbled. He could have told his leaders how unfair
God’s decision was. God’s people had been grumbling
all the time in the desert, so why not him? But no.
could have asked for reconsideration. He after all had successfully
gotten God to change His mind before (see Ex 32:10-14). It
would not have been a big deal for God to allow him to enter
the promised land, especially if he recounted all he had done
for Him. But no.
could have sulked (“tampo”). It would have been
natural for him to feel sorry for himself. After all, God
seemed to be rejecting him. Sulking would probably have been
therapeutic. He just needed time off by himself and nurse
his sorrow. But no.
could have quit (“lie low”). He could have reasoned
out that he was no longer needed nor wanted. He could have
spared himself the continuing heartbreak of seeing the excitement
of the Israelites preparing to cross the Jordan. But no.
could have lost his fiery zeal. His zeal for God and vision
for God’s people in the promised land had provided him
the adrenalin to persevere and endure through all of 40 years
in the desert. Now the Israelites were at the edge of the
promised land, and his work was done. Joshua was taking over.
But no. He continued to exhort them strongly (Dt 31:6) and
he strongly endorsed and exhorted his successor Joshua (Dt
Moses was the servant leader par excellence. He is one perfect
example of how to accept the trials and afflictions of leadership.
His service was not about him, but all about God. He denied
self, he took up his cross, and he simply followed God in
we complain when we are not recognized for the good that
we grumble whenever we disagree on how things are done in
community, and involve others in our grumbling?
we continue insisting on our point when the leaders over
us decide to do things another way, rather than submitting?
we sulk when we are unappreciated for all the hard work
we do, when we feel we are not treated in a good way by
we quit when we do not get our way?
we lose our zeal when we do not see the fulfillment of our
We servant leaders are mere servants, who happen to be given
leadership positions. But there is only one Master. Our lives
are not our own. We exist simply to serve the Master. In doing
so, we are not to look to our own preferences, desires, fulfillment,
agenda or glorification.
disappointments we personally have (and yes, there will be
such disappointments), servant leaders need to persist in
looking to God, pointing to God, and continuing to serve the
Master till the end. It is His work after all, which in His
goodness He has merely shared with us.
Moses in his valedictory said, “it is the Lord, your
God, who marches with you” (Dt 31:6b). Moses had led
the march out of Egypt and through 40 years in the desert.
Now the Israelites were on the verge of crossing into the
promised land, but Moses would not be with them. He must have
been heart-broken but that was beside the point, and he just
pointed them to the One who really mattered. “It is
the Lord your God who will cross before you” (Dt 31:3a).
Let us look to Moses, this great servant leader, and serve
our God with the same zeal and humility. And let us know that
if we are faithful, God will allow us to enter into the ultimate
promised land, heaven.
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