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Strong as a Rock

Strong as a Rock

Exodus 17:3-4

But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried to the LORD, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.”

If you’ve raised kids who are now adults, what was the most trying stage of that mentorship? Was it the terrible toddler years when all they did was throw fits and whine about everything and you couldn’t reason with them? Or was it the high-school years, when they’d roll their eyes at everything you’d say, and everyone else seemed to be making an impression on their character but you? Or was it the know-it-all college years when they finally enjoyed a little independence, and they started confronting your own fixed ideas about life and God and the world, and they were high on ideals but short on experience? I’ve not yet had high-school and college-age children of my own, but I imagine I’ll be crying out like Moses when I do.

Nevertheless, through all the stages of development, I think the most difficult aspect of leadership is the fact that virtues aren’t contagious. How can people have a shepherd like Moses leading the way, setting the tone, and trusting without complaining, yet that faith and courage and humility don’t rub off on them? Haven’t you experienced that exacerbating reality in your own leadership endeavors, friend? Maybe you’ve done your best to faithfully preach the truth in love to a wayward friend, but it hasn’t made any difference. Maybe you’ve recently undergone a season of spiritual growth yourself, and God has transformed your bitterness into forgiveness, but the steps forward have only accentuated the distance between you and your impenitent family members. That’s the downside of freewill without question. To know that we could and should spend our entire lives reaching out to those in our care, inviting them, begging them, exhorting them to come along with us, but we can’t make the choice for them.

“What shall I do with this people?!” cries every Christian leader. “Lead them in the way of righteousness!” answers our Good Shepherd. Even if they pick up stones rather than take your hand.