Do you ever think of God as a politician? Those two words just don’t seem to fit together in the same sentence, do they? Politicians play favorites. Surely a God would not do that. U.S. presidents staff their administrations with buddies and relatives. CEO’s do the same thing. But not the all-fair God! Nah!
The author of the Book of Numbers disagrees. He paints a more political God than you’ll ever find in Washington. Not only does Yahweh (God’s new name) pick his old buddy Moses, who is a horrible choice for a manager, but he also loads the team of Moses with Jethro, his father-in-law; Aaron, his brother; and even his wife. Talk about nepotism, cronyism and the “good ole boy syndrome.” Doesn’t that lead to trouble?
Sure, and it did for Yahweh, too. But it also leads to loyalty, and that’s what Yahweh needed at that moment. He needed a top group of people who would “take a bullet for him.” And that’s exactly what you need. You’re the coach. You know the plays and the politics. You know the game and the gamble. You know the problem and the root causes, and you have the vision. But now you need a team. One or two (or more) who would “take a bullet” for you. And you, in turn, would take that bullet for them.
And yes, nepotism does have its drawbacks. But if you can’t build loyalty into the team you inherited, you have to bring in your buddies. You have to have your team. That’s what Yahweh did. He started with Moses. This is how the Bible describes Moses:
“Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all men that were on the face of the earth.”
-- Numbers 12:3
Moses is not a strong manager, but Moses is loyal to Yahweh. It was a loyalty built on trust that holds up when Pharaoh sends his soldiers to kill him, when he runs out of food and water in the desert, when his own brother and sister turn on him. It was a loyalty so strong that he can retire without his “gold watch.” He’s so loyal he can just stand back as the young tigers go into “the promised land” while he waves them goodbye and good luck. He has to watch “youngsters” possess the land that was promised to him 40 years earlier. And still he’s loyal. He dies happy listening to these words:
“I have let you see the land with your own eyes, but you shall not go over there.”
-- Deuteronomy 34:4
Who is your Moses? Who would take this kind of “bullet” for you? Who would trust you as you muddle through the early days in your new job? Who would stand behind you when you make horrible mistakes and can’t live up to your promises? While you’re looking at the big picture, who is looking at the trees and bushes and rocks and even the pebbles? Who is willing to upset you, willing to frustrate you, willing to slow down your smoking jet that’s racing down the runway and say: “Whoa! Let’s figure this out.” That’s what Moses did to Yahweh. It took a lot of guts. For a meek man, Moses had the chutzpah to say what he really believed even though he knew it would not please “the big guy.”
Every leader needs a Moses, a person who is both loyal and outspoken, a team player who will argue with you in private but support you in public, a true friend who has made your vision his own and will fight your enemies for it. If you have this Moses, count yourself blessed.
If you don’t, watch your backside.
Dr. Bill Cummings is the CEO of Cummings Consolidated Corp. and Cummings Management Consultants. His website is digitallydrc.com.