Remember Moses? He has to rank as one of the greatest leaders of all time. This sheepherder did all he could to avoid his holy calling to free his enslaved countrymen and lead them into the land God promised the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Exodus 6:8). He took well over a million people with countless animals out of Egypt for forty years wandering across harsh deserts where food and water were scarce. He had a phenomenal friendship with God which afforded him incredible power and the confidence to lead. Despite the heartaches of dealing with whining rebels, he passionately set out to accomplish a compelling mission.
Moses was not perfect. In a fit of anger, he disobeyed and dishonored his Lord (Numbers 20:11-12). God’s punishment was to remove his privilege of leading the Israelites into Canaan. He pled with God for the right to take them in—it must have broken his heart to be barred from the ultimate privilege of crossing the Jordan River. Instead God graciously allowed him to climb Mount Nebo to gain a panoramic view of the land. Then he died in the land of Moab. Just before his death he spoke to his people. “I am now 120 years old; I can no longer act as your leader. The Lord has told me, ‘You will not cross this Jordan” (Deuteronomy 31:2). Moses then passed the mantle of leadership to Joshua.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines resignation as “Unresisting acceptance of something as inescapable; submission.” Moses resigned in obedience to God. Though old, he was physically and mentally capable of retaining his position. “Moses was 120 years old when he died; his eyes were not weak, and his vitality had not left him” (Deu. 34:7).
With over two decades of studying and observing those in positions of authority, I believe that one of the true tests of a leader is knowing when to step down from a position of authority. There are at least ten reasons why Christian leaders fail to resign graciously and effectively.
#1. The position becomes more important than the people
#2. The people become more important than the Savior
#3. The Savior is subordinate to the mission
#4. Work (leading) becomes the primary source of satisfaction
#5. The need for adulation exceeds the giving of Adoration
#6. Failure to identify, train and mentor a replacement
#7. Pride: evidenced by a sense of being “irreplaceable”
#8. Fear of losing one’s identity and purpose
#9. Inability to discern the Holy Spirit’s leading
#10. Unwillingness to admit ineffectiveness or the possibility that someone else is better suited to the position.
The wise leader knows when to say, “I am no longer able to lead you.” His reward is to one day hear God say, “Well done, you good and faithful servant!”
While I realize that my convictions are subject to error, still I must alter my present ministry or be guilty of hypocrisy. My intent is not to condemn those who differ; it is simply to explain why I am pursuing my present course.—Resignation excerpt from Pastor Steve Atkerson
©2004 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)