The High Cost Of Leadership

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go up this mountain in the Abarim Range and see the land I have given the Israelites. After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, for when the community rebelled at the waters in the Desert of Zin, both of you disobeyed my command to honor me as holy before their eyes.” (These were the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin.) Moses said to the Lord, “May the Lord, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”
Numbers 27:12-17 (NIV)

For some people, the idea of being a leader in God's service is romantic and glamorous.

There's something highly attractive to them about speaking for the Lord and directing His work in this world. Yet, as we today's Scripture, we soon discover the high cost of leadership in the Christian community.

Very few think long and hard about the scene that occurred when Moses and the nation arrived at the border of Canaan to enter the promised land. You may recall that Moses, Joshua and Caleb wanted to immediately enter the promised land and possess it—as the Lord had commanded.

However, the people rebelled, and God punished their disobedience by having them march around the desert for 40 years—until all of the rebels had died. The point is— Moses had 40 years of his life wasted in the desert.

The second high cost of leadership for Moses was how he paid for his own sin as the people's leader.

The nation had grumbled against the Lord (Numbers 20:1-13) because of the lack of water. Then Moses dishonoured the Lord in how he dealt with the frustrating situation.

Although Moses acted out of frustration over their complaint, as leader he should have obeyed the Lord completely and honoured Him in the situation.

As punishment for his actions, he would be not be allowed to lead the people into the promised land.

The greatness of Moses is apparent in his immediate response to the Lord when informed of his punishment. Instead of complaining, his immediate concern was to ask the Lord to arrange for his successor—if he was soon to die.

How we need to pray for the spiritual leaders among us to willingly accept the consequences of the sins of those they lead. We also need to pray that we don't provoke our spiritual leaders into committing sin—as Moses did.

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