The Legacy of a Leader

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Living to Retire

The modern concept of retirement is relatively new for mankind, and it is not healthy for us. Research has shown that if we stop working and do nothing with our time, we will die sooner than if we are active in society. There is the misconception that retirement is when we stop working, but I would like to propose that for the Christian, retirement is simply when we can stop getting paid for our work. 

We were created to work. Work is actively challenging ourselves. It is serving others, utilizing time and talents for productivity. Over our lives, we develop skills and talents that can be used to give us a fulfilling life and help others at the same time. 

What if we saw retirement as the ability to work without needing a paycheck, committing the final years of our life to the Lord? 

Living to Influence

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that at age 60, you reach the top of your potential, and this continues to your 80s.

For the Christian, this peak potential is maximized in your retirement years if you have diligently led, discipled, and influenced others. People will actually listen when you speak when they see that  you have led your family well and raised up other leaders.  This is what it means to leave a legacy. As Christians, we are called to discipleship, and discipleship leads to legacy. 

You may be young and not thinking about your legacy, but life is short and the decisions you make today regarding the use of your time will either lead to regret or to an honorable legacy (see Ephesians 5:15-16). 

When it comes to leaving a legacy, here is one thing that I can guarantee: one day, you will regret the time that you spent on social media and other mindless activities. Those are wasted hours that you will never get back. 

Living to Finish Well 

The Lord instructed Moses to climb Mount Nebo on the western side of modern-day Jordan overlooking the ancient city of Jericho. From this 2600 foot view, the Lord showed Moses the entire Promised Land (see Deuteronomy 34:4). 

Moses was strong, even at 120 years old. Verse 7 says that his vigor was unabated. He climbed the mountain by himself, and that is where he died. 

God buried Moses in an unknown location. God knew that the people would set up an idol and worship Moses. So, the Lord in His perfect wisdom made sure that the body of Moses was never found. 

Moses lived his life, to the very last second, as a servant of the Lord, and his reward is great. 

Have you ever met someone who served the Lord till the day they died?

I have been privileged to have known and officiated at funerals of several great men and women who lived their lives wholeheartedly for the Lord. Every life is a gift from God, a gift given so that we can be a blessing to those around us, bringing glory to God.

Unfortunately, too many people think that the gift of life is an end in itself, focusing on selfish pleasures and ambition. The secret to a blessed life is not in seeking our own pleasure but in running the race well, to the end.  The more lives we influence for Christ along the way, the more enjoyable our life becomes. 

Living to Replicate

Moses didn’t simply die and leave the nation to fend for themselves; he had diligently raised up a leader to take his place (see Deuteronomy 34:9).  

Moses had recognized Joshua as a man with a passion for the Lord and His glory. In Numbers 27, we read that in the sight of the whole company, Moses anointed Joshua and blessed him. 

Joshua had been close to Moses. He had seen his trials, victories and failures. As he watched,  Moses was preparing him to lead the nation into the Promised Land. 

The most effective leadership development program is simply letting people walk with you. Doing life together, letting other people see your struggles, victories, and even failures. Setting an example in prayer and faithfulness to the Word of God. This is something that is sorely needed today. 

Joshua was well prepared to lead the nation because the Spirit of God was on him, but also because he had been an understudy of Moses every day for forty years. 

To set an example for the next generation, we need to be living a life worthy of being followed. This is not a perfect life, but one that demonstrates what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus. 

Living for a better Moses 

We may be tempted to put Moses on a pedestal and glorify him (see Deuteronomy 34:10). Moses was a great leader, but he wasn’t the greatest (see Hebrews 3:1-6). 

Moses received the law of God on Mt. Sinai explaining God’s holy requirements. But the law could never be perfectly adhered to by any man. The law didn’t lead to rest. But Jesus came to fulfill the law, and He did (see Matthew 5:17).

God let Moses see the Promised Land, but he could never enter it. This is all that the Law can do; it lets us see God’s holy standard, but it cannot make us holy. 

Only by placing our faith and trust in Jesus will we be covered by his righteousness and immediately placed in right standing with God. Because of what Jesus has done on the cross, we can enter the eternal Promised Land, not because we perfectly fulfill the law, but because Jesus did. Apart from Jesus, we can view the Promised Land, but we will never enter it. 

Living to Leave a Legacy

Christian leadership is influencing people towards a relationship and a lifestyle of following Jesus. What if, instead of living for retirement, you lived to leave a legacy that points people to Jesus?

How are you running your race?  What will your legacy be?

A Leader Prays

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My father was a pastor who faithfully served several churches in the years up until his passing in 2013. I am blessed to have had a father who was a man of conviction and a man of prayer.  

I am so grateful that I frequently caught him in prayer. He was leading by example and teaching me valuable disciplines.

Parents do you lead by example in your home? Do your children find you praying? Do your children even know that you pray?

We are continuing our series called, “leadership lessons from the life of Moses”. This week we focus on the importance of the prayer life of a leader.

A Christian leader is only as effective as his/her prayer life.

Moses the Priest.

Moses was a Levite, a priest, and as such he had the responsibility of representing the nation before God and representing God to the nation. This was the crucial role of the priest before the New Testament and the gift of the Holy Spirit to the church at Pentecost in Acts 2. As we know from 1 Peter 2:9, all believers are priests and are called to be Christ’s ambassadors in our various spheres of life.

As priests we are called to intercede for our family and extended community. How well are you fulfilling your priestly role in your area of influence?

In Exodus 33 we read about the Tent of Meeting that Moses set up outside the camp in order to intercede for the nation. It was also a place where anyone could go and pray to enquire of the Lord (see Exodus 33:7).

The tent was set far outside the camp and Moses would go out to the tent of meeting, as an example of being a leader of prayer (see Exodus 33:8). As Moses entered the tent, the people would all stand in awe and worship God. This is the effect of a leader who prays, it leads those who are watching to worship God.

Prayer is warfare.

The tent was available to all the people, but only those who sought the Lord took advantage of it. Reading between the lines, that probably wasn’t a high percentage. The tent of meeting was far outside the camp, it was not convenient.

 “Every one of us is as close to God as he has chosen to be.” J. Oswald Sanders

Today, many Christians will say that they want a better prayer life, but sadly, they don’t put in the effort. Prayer takes effort. Prayer is hard work. This is not legalism or works based Christianity, but if we want to see things change in our homes and in our society, we must be prepared to put in the effort that is required.

Prayer takes effort. It is warfare. You cannot wage war from the comfort of your mattress, sometimes you must go outside of the camp.

I am not saying God doesn’t answer prayers prayed while you are in bed and wrestling with the issues of life, but there is something powerful when we have a special place to go to pray and meet with God. There is something about a change of venue that shifts our perspective. When you change your location to a place that is set apart for prayer, you are ready to engage in warfare. You are ready to pray.

A little word of encouragement; when you sit down or kneel to pray, leave your phone in another room. In a war, a distracted soldier is a dead soldier. I cannot emphasize this more strongly; your cell phone will spiritually kill you. Sadly, in our culture and in the Body of Christ, there are too many people who are paralyzed by the constant enticement of all forms of media and entertainment that are presented in the palm of our hands. These distractions are all killing people’s ability to function effectively, and sadly in the Church, they are taking people out of the mission that they are called to.

Moses the Intercessor:

As Moses prayed, he set an example for the people to see. A high percentage of leadership is not about what you say, it’s about what people see in your lifestyle and example.

Moses was also an intercessor for the nation. He prayed fervently for the nation. He risked his life for the nation in his boldness before the Lord. Moses stood between the nation’s sin and God (see Numbers 11:1-2).

Every Christian leader should intercede for those they lead.

Moses interceded for the future blessing of the nation. Moses was not content to have seen the deliverance of God in the past, he was not content to have the provision of God for today, he was desperate for the presence of God in the future (see Exodus 33:12-15).

As you lead your family, your community, or your workplace, are you desperate for the presence and the leadership of God?

Are you crying out in dependance on God for the future for those you influence?

It was from his place of intimacy with God, that Moses was able to become the greatest leader in the history of the nation of Israel.

How are you preparing to lead? Commit to leading in prayer.