Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “Moses”

Worldly vs Godly Wisdom

And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him and rescued him out of all his afflictions and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household.    Acts 7:9-10   (ESV)

And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.     Acts 7:1, 22  (ESV)

There are two sources of wisdom for Kingdom leaders:  wisdom that comes from the world and wisdom that comes from above.  In Stephen’s testimony before his accusers, he distinguishes between these two as illustrated in the life and leadership of Joseph and Moses.

Joseph was given wisdom and favor from God when he was brought before Pharaoh and interpreted his dreams.  Having explained that the dreams meant 7 years of plentiful harvests followed by 7 years of drought, he volunteered a solution.  He suggested constructing huge granaries to store the surplus grain during the first years in order to feed the hungry during the years of famine that would follow.

Pharaoh and his counselors recognized the wisdom of this plan and Joseph was elevated to a position of number two in Egypt.  He executed the building, gathering, storing, and eventually, the distribution of the grain in the years of famine.  All of this came from the godly wisdom that was given to Joseph as the Lord sought to accomplish His purposes in and through Him.

Years later Moses was raised in Pharaoh’s court, having been adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter when she rescued him from the River Nile.  He was ‘instructed’ in all of the wisdom that the Egyptian culture had to offer.  He got the best education and training possible during his day.  But, we note that he was not ready to lead God’s people yet.

He was powerful in speech and deed according to Stephen.  But his training, education and natural ability did not make him qualified to lead God’s people out of Egypt.  He tried on his own strength and failed, eventually ending up in Midian caring for sheep for his new father-in-law Jethro.

Now, one can imagine that the sheep management system implemented by Moses was quite the setup, given all of his background.  But, it was simply a training program for God to humble him and shape him into the man God could eventually use to lead over 2 million of His people out of bondage.  Forty more years of managing sheep would bring Moses to the point where he was now ready to meet God in the burning bush.

Kingdom leaders need wisdom to lead.  And worldly wisdom based upon collective wisdom can have some advantages.  But, it will not be enough to fulfill our God-given missions.  We will need godly wisdom, given to us from Him, to see His work accomplished in His ways.

Are you trusting in the world’s wisdom only or are you pleading with God to give you His wisdom as you lead out in the task He has called you to?

Our God, a Recruiting God

The following was done by Doug Nuenke some time ago.  I’ve kept it for some time in my files as a reminder on the biblical basis for recruiting.

“From the beginning of time, our God has shown Himself to be committed to inviting men and women to join Him in His kingdom enterprise.  We don’t need to search further than the first chapter of Genesis to see this method at work in the lives of Adam and Eve.  As divine image bearers, they were invited to join God’s work as multipliers, fillers, subduers, and rulers of the earth.

“God is continually inviting His people into a close relationship with Him, and to a task.  For example, God invited Abram to a relationship of blessing and to a faith venture of leaving his homeland to go to a place God would show him (Genesis 12).  God invited Moses to join Him on a world-changing rescue operation, promising the blessing of His presence (Exodus 3).  Jeremiah was invited to join God’s purposes for his life as a prophet to the nations.  God assured Jeremiah that ‘I am with you and will rescue you’ (Jeremiah 1:4-10).  The apostle Paul was interrupted in the course of his life by a compelling invitation from God.  It made no sense, and who would have picked Paul, the murderer, to join God’s task?  Yet Jesus appeared to him, promising His involvement in Paul’s life, and inviting Paul to join Him in turning people from darkness to light (Acts 26:12-19).

“Year after year, throughout the centuries, God has been an inviting God, a God who recruits men and women to join Him in His kingdom endeavors.  Jesus did the same when He said to potential disciples, “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).  Again, we see God inviting people to Himself and to a task worthy of their lives.

“What do we learn about God’s recruiting of individuals?  First, God invites people to join Him in His enterprise, for His glory.  His invitation is not so much about us as it is about Him and His purposes.  Second, God’s invitations are compelling and have an imperative tone. We can never invite with the same compulsion, yet we can help people discern God’s compelling invitation.  Third, God’s recruiting is personal.  Though He has plenty to say to us as a community of believers, His invitations are directed to us as individuals.  Finally, we see that God’s recruiting involves the promise of His presence and involvement.

“In organizations, we must make the distinction between the task of marketing and the task of recruiting.  God models both of these. Marketing is the public disbursement of who we are and what we are about.  It involves broad communications of a person or organization’s mission, vision, ethos, and character.  God communicates broadly, in this marketing fashion, through His creation, through His mighty acts, and through His miracles and wonders.  The Lord Jesus’ life on earth communicated in a broad and public way, the character and mission of God.  Recruiting, however is personal. It is more relational and directed to the individual.  Recruiting happens most effectively at a local level, and engages men and women where they live, pointing them toward God’s invitations and callings on their lives.

“Our God is a recruiting, inviting God. As God’s people and God’s fellow workers, we join Him in the recruiting process when we help our student, staff and alumni friends listen for the next step in which God is inviting them to join Him.”

Becoming a Wise Leader – #2

Some time ago I did a study on the great, bold prayers of the bible.  Two prayers stood out to me.  The first request was Solomon’s prayer for wisdom ( 1 Kings 3:1-15).  As Solomon began his reign as king, he soon realized that the demands upon him were beyond his ability.  When God spoke to him in a dream, he was given permission to ask for anything (3:5).  How would you like to have that permission given you from God Himself?  What would you have asked for?  Now Solomon was already a wise young man (see David, his father’s comment in 1 Kings 2:9), but he knew enough to realize that wisdom was the secret to life and success for him as a leader, and so he asked for a wise and discerning heart (3:6-12).  Note that God was “pleased that Solomon asked for this” (3:10), and granted his request and in addition granted him much more as a result of his wisdom (3:12-14).  What a wise young man!

The second prayer request that impressed me was that of Moses in Exodus 33:12-23.  Moses too was in a position of leadership and was stretched beyond his ability, looking for some help in how to make wise decisions.  Note that Moses asked for the ability to understand the ways of God (33:13) in order to continue to find favor with God.  This request also pleased God (33:17) and it was granted to Him.  David comments on this in Psalm 103:7, where he contrasts Moses who knew the ways of God with Israel who knew the deeds of God.  Moses understood why God acted the way He did, but Israel only knew the acts of God.  They did not understand His ways.

As a result of this study, I began to pray and ask God to grant me the same things that these men asked for—that He would grant me wisdom and that I would understand His ways.  I can do this knowing that God does not show favoritism and therefore, will grant me the same as what others asked and knowing that He will be pleased by my asking for these things.  I do so want to please Him with my life, and here’s a simple way to move towards that goal.

Wisdom is the key to a life that is pleasing to God.  We must pursue it and we begin by asking for it.  That request begins the process of the pursuit of wisdom for life’s decisions.  Often, this request arises from our sense of inadequacy on how to handle our current situation (like Solomon and Moses).  But, we don’t have to be a leader of a nation to need wisdom.  We all need it to fulfill our God-given roles; whether it is as an organizational leader or a husband, wife, father, mother, grandfather, or grandmother, in addition to the other demands of life that constantly press upon us, that we may live a life pleasing to Him.

Wisdom is not a product of age or experience.  There are many older people who are very unwise.  One can obtain wisdom at a young age.  Solomon was young when he asked for wisdom and was given it, even while young.  Rather, wisdom is something to be pursued and sought after.  It is a life-long pursuit.  It is my desire to continue to grow in God’s wisdom and knowledge and understanding of the ways of God.  I pray that for myself and for other leaders that I know and mentor.  May it be your pursuit as well!

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