God always uses a person to do great things. Yes, committees accomplish many good things. But if you skim the news, you will see that even today, exceptional individuals birth exceptional movements and organizations. That person may be part of a team, but it’s self-evident that one person was the key.
For Microsoft, it was Bill Gates, for Apple it was Steve Jobs, for Tesla-SpaceX-Neuralink-Boring Company it is Elon Musk. If we look at Christianity, we see Billy Graham as the founder and leader of a worldwide Christian evangelistic team. And, we can consider Golda Meir, Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein, and the list goes on.
Now, think about the person selected to follow in those footsteps. Often, the replacement is as successful or more so than the founder, but they rarely are willing to risk breaking the mold. Instead, they work on polishing the image of their predecessor and work to maximize the efficiency of the system they inherited.
Why do people that are often hand-picked by the leader they’ve served for decades constrain themselves? They are highly talented; otherwise, the founder wouldn’t have chosen them. Still, they ramble around within the footprint of their mentor, too afraid to become the leader that they should be.
This insecurity is the risk of being mentored by exceptional people. For example, let’s consider Joshua because Moses mentored him!
Before he died, Moses blessed Joshua as follows: “If nothing else, be strong” (Deuteronomy 31:23). That is an incredible blessing, though understandable given the history of the Israelites. Then we find God telling Joshua to “be strong” in Joshua 1:6, 9, and in Joshua 1:18, we see the Israelites telling Joshua to “be strong.”
On at least three separate occasions and from no less than God, Moses, and the Israelites, Joshua was told to be strong. So, you might get the idea he was a wimp. No way!
Joshua was one of the two spies that went into enemy territory and came back with a good report (Numbers 14). We know that God enabled him to lead the Israelites across the Jordan river into the Promised Land (Joshua 3). And we know that Joshua led the battle of Jericho (Joshua 6). And we also know God stopped the movement of the sun for him (Joshua 10:12-13).
Be Who God Calls You To Be
God used Joshua powerfully, but Joshua seemed to never “be” strong. We got a glimpse of this when the city of Ai defeated the Israelites. In Joshua 7:7, we see Joshua essentially throwing a hissy-fit, to the point that, as recorded in verse 10, the Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?”
In our walk with Jesus, it is a blessing to be mentored by exceptional Christians. Nevertheless, God has a unique purpose for each of us, so let us accept, with humility and trust, the work He assigns us. Let us use what our mentors have taught us, but we each must be the person God has called us to be. And “be strong.”
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