Theodore Roosevelt’s boat was stolen from his ranch in the Badlands. Thieves cut the rope and during an arctic storm took off down the Little Missouri River. The small craft was only worth thirty dollars, but Teddy, a deputy sheriff of Billings County, felt obligated by his own moral code to go after the three men (he knew who committed the crime). Six days later, under horrible conditions, Roosevelt and two volunteers set out in pursuit. Three days soon after, in frigid conditions on an icy river, Teddy caught Finnegan, Pfaffenbach and Burnsted.
Next came the hard part. They could not tie up their prisoners or their hands and feet would freeze off. The nearest town, Mandan, was 150 miles away. Stubborn Teddy poled downriver behind an ice-jam and, despite little sleep from guarding the prisoners, lack of food, and brutal cold, the hardened cowboy brought the men to justice. He heartily enjoyed the whole escapade.Teddy Roosevelt would go on to become one of America’s great presidents because he consistently pushed himself to do more than anyone else expected.
Joshua 17:17,18—So Joshua replied to Joseph’s family (that is, Ephraim and Manasseh), “You have many people and great strength. You will not have just one allotment, because the hill country will be yours also. It is a forest; clear it and its outlying areas will be yours. You can also drive out the Canaanites, even though they have iron chariots and are strong.”
Joshua is recognized as a premier leader in the Bible. The Israelites were able to conquer Canaan because he believed that God would do what He promised. Like Teddy Roosevelt, he exuded courage and audacity. His challenge in the verses above gives us keen insight into what makes great leaders.
Great leaders make clear their vision for success. When Joseph’s family complained about their circumstances (vs. 16), Joshua’s answer framed exactly what they needed to do.
Great leaders do not settle for mediocrity or let the obvious prevent the possible. Joshua knew the potential of Joseph’s descendants. So what if the land was forested. Clear it and establish your settlements! Taking down trees and building on hills was hard work. But those trees were part of valuable land they would later need.
Great leaders are not intimidated by strong adversaries. The men of Joseph did not have chariots or a great array of weapons. They faced an enemy defending its homeland and well-equipped for battle. Joshua inspired action and accepted no excuses. God promised them victory and that was all he needed to exhort his people to fight.
What trees do you need to clear? What challenges are you facing that require overcoming? Do you trust God to do more than you think is possible? He can and, in His power, so can you. Something to think about . . . in reveration!
God brings us to the point where the fortress of the will is stormed by Him. If we yield, the battle is fought and won; but if we don’t keep on the fighting line God has drawn, we shall suffer a relapse and be taken by storm by the very powers we ought to have overcome, e.g., vain imaginings about God, empty mornings, spiritual reveries, spiritual ecstasies, spiritual anythings that we have not gripped up.—Oswald Chambers in Notes on Jeremiah
©2017 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)
Edmund Morris, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt,(Random House: 2010), pp. 318-325.