Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Baton - Part 2

A Scripture lesson which has benefited me greatly is Moses' moment of succession to his waiting protégé Joshua. The baton is about to be transferred. Deuteronomy 31:7, 8 says: 'Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, "Be strong and courageous; for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance_ The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."'

I point out this was an action Moses took personally. While God certainly was directing him, as the leader he had to take action for the sake of the people and the mission God had given. Also he acted in a public manner. This was not a private transaction. All Israel knew and heard, making this an affirming occasion for Joshua. Moses was encouraging in what he had to say. Certainly there was no shortage of bad news he could have shared, but he chose to speak in a way that was strengthening to the new leader. I finally note he was hopeful in his choice of words, reminding Joshua that no matter how difficult the task, he would never be alone as long as he kept his eyes on God.

The continuity of our mission hinges on this fundamental duty. We must not carelessly or selfishly delay until it is too late. That is a risk we cannot afford to take.
Author Max DePree shares this lovely epilogue to his book Leadership Jazz:
In the late 14th century, the members of New College, at Oxford, moved into their quadrangle, the first structure of its kind, intended to provide for the residents all that they needed_ On the north side of the quadrangle sit the chapel and the great hall, beautiful buildings and, as you might imagine, the focus of the life of the college.
In the middle of the 19th century, almost 500 years later, the college hired architect Sir Gilbert Scott to restore the roof of the hall. The roof and the great oak beams that supported it had badly rotted. And so representatives from the college, with Sir Gilbert, visited Great Hall Woods, in Berkshire, where they expected to find trees for replacement beams. Sure enough, the replacements were standing there, waiting to be hewn out of the living oak trees planted a century before for just that purpose.
An anonymous leader's promise had been fulfilled. The voice and touch of a distant leader had been joined.

I believe that is a good description of the privilege given to each one of us.

Barry Swanson

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