Saturday, March 30th
Lead: to guide on a way especially by going in advance; to direct on a course or in a direction; to serve as a channel
Psalm 25:5 (NRSV)
Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation…
Exodus 13:21 (NRSV)
The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night.
Every year at summer camp, one of our big events was to play Follow the Leader. The leader, one of our camp counselors, had us tramp through mucky marshes, crawl across dirt and weeds under cabins, wend our way through underbrush and trees in the woods, run across open fields, and finally jump into the lake! We were filthy, exhausted, itchy, and totally spent- but also exhilarated. We had been challenged and we were victorious.
Looking back, I recognize the power of leadership. I was willing to follow my counselor wherever he led us, because these counselors had guided, tended, taught, protected, and loved us all week. I followed him into the most challenging parts of the course because I knew he wasn’t taking us anywhere he wouldn’t go himself. All of us campers had grown to love and trust these counselors, and we were willing to follow them even when the situation seemed difficult or even ridiculous.
Wherever we are leaders- workplace, church, community, team or family- we lead best when we lovingly care for those we are leading. We lead best when we are working toward a goal that includes and benefits everyone. We lead best when we are willing to go with them through all of the challenges necessary to achieve that goal. We lead best when we can look beyond any obstacles and detours by setting our sights on the vision and mission before us.
Most of all, good leaders follow a greater Leader. I love the example in Exodus of the pillar and cloud God used to direct the Israelites as they journeyed through the wilderness. Moses was a good leader because God was his leader. Moses went with his people, because he knew God would go with them, too. He was willing to go wherever God would take them because he knew God is the God we can trust- the God who teaches, tends, helps, protects, loves, and works for our good.
As godly leaders, our role is to lovingly guide people toward the One we follow as we work toward our goals. We may not get to take the well-worn path or the easy route or even the one that makes sense. We may find ourselves in challenging situations or places beyond our comfort zone. Still, because we know God is the One we can trust- the One who has loved us all along- we know we will lead best when we follow the best Leader.
All definitions are excerpted from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/
Photo credit: Aaron Burden on Unsplash