If you’ve been reading with us for a while, you might recognize this narrative from Exodus. This time around, I was drawn to Moses’ response to the people’s complaining:
“And Moses said to the Lord, ‘Why are you treating me, your servant, so harshly? Have mercy on me! What did I do to deserve the burden of all these people?’ ” 11:11
The first thing I noticed was Moses referring to himself as God’s servant. Do you consider yourself a servant to God? I way more often consider myself a recipient of his service. This was convicting to me.
I also felt for Moses, as a leader. I maybe prayed this exact prayer this morning, in the chaos of young children. I’ve mumbled something similar in the drama of youth ministry. It’s hard to lead ungrateful people. Complainers. It wears you down, clouds up your joy and tempts you to doubt your worth and impact on God’s plan.
Worn down leaders: take heart. Whether you lead a team of people or a pack of preschoolers, remember who you’re ultimately working for. The Lord! This verse has always encouraged me, no matter what I’m over-seeing:
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” Romans 12:9-13
Followers: listen up. It doesn’t matter how valid we think our complaining is, there is no room for it. Humans are endlessly capable of finding something to whine about; the Israelites begged to go back to slavery in the middle of being rescued from it, over FOOD! Check your heart and your attitude. Repent to God when discontentment rears its head.
“Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
Are you leading well?
Who do you follow? Are you following well? Are you quick to complain?