Title or Responsibility?

Joshua 1 records the transition from Moses' leadership to Joshua's leadership of the people of Israel. The whole passage is fascinating, but I find verse 1 particularly fascinating.

"After the death of Moses, the Servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide:"

Throughout his tenure, Moses gets called "The Servant of the Lord." It's a special title Moses got that nobody else carried during Moses' day. 

By Joshua 1, Moses has already commissioned Joshua and announced that Joshua would be the new leader (Deuteronomy 31). Now, Moses is dead and Joshua is Israel's second leader post-captivity. You might expect Joshua to co-opt Moses' title when he assumes Moses' post, but he doesn't. Moses is still "The Servant of the Lord," and Joshua is still "Moses' aide." 

Even still, by the end of Chapter 1, the people are one-hundred percent behind Joshua as their leader. He will go on to lead them across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. He will "fit the battle of Jericho," and conquer a host of enemies. He will arguably take Israel further faster than Moses was ever able to take them. 

But it isn't until the end of Joshua's career (Joshua 24:29) when Joshua gets to assume the title "Servant of the Lord." 

Titles and positions have absolutely zero ability to lead. Leaders lead. 

Joshua effectively led the nation of Israel long after they moved beyond Moses' shadow. He didn't wait for a title or position to be bestowed on him - he just led. 

If you're waiting on a title, position at the table, or promotion before you start leading, you'll never lead effectively. Just lead; the titles, positions and promotions will come. 


Unknown said...

I can't remember where this came from, but I think it was an IBM President. This post reminded me of it.

"The first thing is to create a very clear image of what you want your future to look like. Then ask yourself - how would you act on a day-to-day basis if you were there. Then, start acting that way right now."

Very good post, another keeper.