LEADERSHIP

“The buck stops here!” is a phrase, which was brought to prominence by Harry S. Truman, formerly President of the United States of America.  It is said that he kept a sign bearing these words on his desk in the Oval Office at the White House as a reminder of the ultimately responsibility he bore for the decisions that he took.  In our generation, you might be forgiven for thinking that such a maxim no longer applies, as far too many leaders in business, politics and other spheres of public life seem unwilling to accept personal accountability for their words and actions.  Now, come with me, as we step back thousands of years to the time of Moses and Joshua, both great leaders of God’s people.  Neither seemed overly keen to push themselves forward and assume an exalted position in the burgeoning nation of Israel.  Remember how, encountering the LORD through the burning bush, Moses initially resisted the call of God, declaring that he was hesitant in speech.  Also, we read how many times God had to reassure Joshua – “Be strong and courageous” – implying that, of himself, Joshua was neither of these two things!  Yet, God specifically chose both of these men to lead His people through testing times, first of all through the wilderness, and then into the Promised Land of Canaan.  Perhaps something of the timidity we witness in Moses and Joshua was down to their personal recognition that, in taking on leadership, the buck would stop with them?  Certainly, as time unfolded, Moses paid the price, not for errant leadership, but faithless followers.  Along with a rebellious people, who made an idol of gold to worship whilst he was receiving the Ten Commandments, Moses was prevented from actually entering that “land of milk and honey.”  Instead, that privilege fell to Joshua who, along with Caleb, was one of only two spies from twelve that had sufficient faith in God’s power to deliver on His promises to the people of Israel.  However, Joshua also understood the approach to leadership summed up by the phrase, “the buck stops here!”  Right at the end of the biblical book that bears his name, Joshua delivers that most famous of speeches – “…if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24: 15)  What a bold statement of faith.  Not directed by opinion polls, nor scared off through the possibility of rejection by the masses, Joshua showed that strength and courage the LORD had promised him at the outset of his leadership.  In our day and age, both in the world and in the church, we are in desperate need of more leaders who will step up to the plate like Moses and Joshua.  Pray that the LORD will again call and equip Christian women and men, who are prepared to speak the truth in love and with authority, as a positive witness to our nation and world.  Pray that the hallmark of such leaders will be integrity, as well as a heightened sense of moral and personal accountability to God as Sovereign LORD.