Tuesday, October 31, 2017
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When historian Stephen Ambrose wrote the bestseller about their amazing adventure, he appropriately titled it Undaunted Courage. It's one of the many accounts of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the daring group who explored America's new Louisiana Purchase 200 years ago. As they made their way along the Missouri River, traveling from St. Louis all the way to the Pacific Ocean, most every bend in the river revealed sights and wildlife that no white man had ever seen. One of the many critical moments on their two-year expedition was the point in Montana where they encountered a fork in the Missouri River. There was no map to guide them, and a wrong choice could exhaust their resources for a very long journey. The river to the right was muddy like the Missouri had been. The crew wanted to go that way. But Captain Lewis and Captain Clark assessed the situation, and led their reluctant men down the left fork. When the expedition reached the massive waterfalls that Indian friends had told them they would find, they all knew they had chosen the right way.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Following The People or Leading The People."
The captains on the Lewis and Clark Expedition had the courage and conviction to lead their crew where the crew didn't think they should go. That's called leadership. And some people you're responsible for may need for you to be leading them with that kind of courage right now.
See, the troops are often wrong about which way to go. They were in Moses' day when the majority said it was too dangerous to go into the Promised Land. Two men exercised godly leadership that day, defying the popular opinion-Joshua and Caleb. And though the people refused to follow their lead, Joshua and Caleb were the only ones of their generation who did not die during the forty years in the wilderness. And forty years later, God gave Joshua the amazing assignment of leading His people into the land where Joshua had tried to take them before. Nehemiah steadfastly led a sometimes frightened, sometimes reluctant majority to stay on mission and finish the Jerusalem wall against overwhelming odds.
In Exodus 17, beginning with verse 4, our word for today from the Word of God, we find a revealing picture of what real, principled leadership requires-whether it's leading your family, your business, a church, a ministry, or any people who look to you. As usual, the Israelites were complaining and quarreling and grumbling against Moses. They're desperate for water, and there's none around. "Then Moses cried out to the Lord, 'What am I to do with these people? They are ready to stone me.' The Lord answered Moses, 'Walk on ahead of the people (Listen to that!)...take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile. I will stand before you by the rock of Horeb. Strike the rock and water will come out.'" And Moses' leadership was again vindicated as water for a nation flowed from that rock.
That's the kind of leadership I hope you and I are prepared to give. Walk ahead of the people you're leading-you can't hear the Lord as long as you're listening to the crowd. You have to extricate yourself from the fray and get some perspective, get above the fray. Then cry out to God, "What am I to do with these people?" And listen for where He is headed and do what He says. Your job is to let God show you what He is up to, and then to join Him in what He's doing by obeying Him, and then leading the people in that direction even if another way seems right to them.
Don't follow your biases. Don't follow your own wisdom. Don't follow the people that you're supposed to be leading. Follow the Lord where He's going. When you lead with that kind of courage and that kind of conviction, you can take the people to their destiny instead of to a detour.