Leadership is not an Individual Sprint, but a Team Relay
I was a young man with little experience; but I had a sense of purpose and a willingness to work hard and learn. In the earliest years of my career, God placed a few key leaders in my life who entrusted me with responsibility and deputized me with authority.
Authority and responsibility should be given in equal doses and in gradual degrees. Authority without responsibility yields pride. Responsibility without authority results in frustration.
Moses was an amazing (albeit imperfect) leader. He led multi-thousands of people out of Egyptian bondage into a period of miraculous, yet difficult years of wilderness-walk. Forty years later, he brought them to the doorway of the land God had promised His people.
However, when Moses was first called by God to this task, he felt unqualified and overwhelmed. God graciously reassured Moses, and even provided support for him through Aaron and other leaders. The task was never easy, but Moses learned to shoulder the weight God had given him. You could say he grew into his leadership. We all do.
Years later, Moses realized that the leadership entrusted to him would need to outlive him. He realized, as many leaders eventually do, that leadership is not an individual sprint, but a team relay.
Upon realizing his need to transfer to the next generation what had once been entrusted to him, Moses prayed these words:
“Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.” So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him.” Numbers 27:16-18 ESV
To those who are just beginning your leg of the leadership relay – train hard, take it seriously, don’t despise the veteran leaders around you, and don’t forget – this is not just about you.
To those hitting mid-stride in your leg of the leadership relay – stay faithful, stay in your lane, don’t let weariness, fatigue, disappointment, or pain cause you to give up. Begin to look up and receive strength and encouragement from the Holy Spirit as you keep your eyes on your eternal goals.
To those rounding the last part of your leg of the leadership relay – ask God to show you to whom you are to pass the baton. This race cannot end with you. A younger leader needs you to trust him/her with authority and responsibility. Don’t just leave them to figure it out after you’re gone. Come up with a plan. Disciple them. Teach them. Entrust them.
Remember, someone trusted you a long time ago.