Articles of Faith: Lessons From the Wilderness

This post is part of our Sunday Series titled “Articles of Faith.”
We investigate leadership lessons from the Bible.
See the whole series
here. Published only on Sundays.

Hey Leader…

  • How did you find yourself in the position of leadership that you are in today?
  • Was it something you strived long and hard to obtain?
  • Are you where are today because someone recognized your extraordinary talent in a technical skill?
  • Perhaps you were put on the leadership fast track at some point in your career?
  • Are you in leadership because of incredible people skills?

As for me, I can honestly say that I never aspired to be a “leader,” but I became one despite my efforts to avoid it.

By  nature, I am a worker bee, never desiring to be on top of any organization.  However, over the past fifteen years, I have been placed in various levels of leadership and have been commissioned to lead a group of highly talented people and teams.

Have I ever felt truly adequate to lead?  Absolutely not!!

Wait, that sounds familiar, like someone I remember from scriptures of old.  Sometimes, we need a burning bush experience to know that we are called to lead.

Moses was a ripe old octogenarian when he was called by God to lead the biggest challenge of his life, one for which he would forever be immortalized.  But, as you may recall, Moses was not particularly eager to take on this task.

Chapters 3 and 4 of the book of Exodus record for us a  man who saw the tasks and challenges ahead of him and tried his best to pass the buck.  God  had placed a divine call on Moses’ life to lead, but Moses did not feel up to the task.  Have you looked ahead and just felt inadequate?  I know I certainly have.  So, what does this story from Scripture have to teach us about leadership and our calling from God?


In Moses’ case, he met an undeniable call from God to lead.  Moses was going about his daily business, perfectly content as a lowly shepherd, when God appeared in the form of bush that was on fire but not being consumed.  He later heard the voice of God calling him to lead the people of Israel.

There are times in life when the call to leadership will interrupt our daily lives and will call us to something far greater than we ever envisioned.  In the case of Moses, the task of leading the Israelites out of bondage and slavery called for a great leader with incredible vision.  God, the Creator of mankind, had found just the man He needed for the task, and He abruptly interrupted his life.  God broke into the routine of Moses’ life and thwarted his plans for a higher calling of leadership.

All too often, it is easy to get comfortable in our routine and to miss the higher calling of leadership.

Leadership requires us to be open to change and open to hearing God’s call to greater responsibility.  If necessary, God will bring circumstances into our lives to cause us to stop and to hear Him clearly.  One thing is certain — God will make our call to leadership undeniable for the purpose of achieving His plans.


One of the more intriguing aspects of this story comes at the beginning of Chapter 4 when Moses asks how the people will know that he has been called to lead.  God responds by commanding Moses to throw his shepherd’s staff on the ground.

What I’ve often missed about this exchange is the significance of the staff.

For a shepherd, the staff represents identity as a shepherd, security since the staff was used to fend off predators, and position since the staff was also used to guide the sheep.  In essence, God was telling Moses to let go of his own identity, to throw off his sense of self-security, and to drop any preconceived notion of where the sheep should go.  Leadership, in this story, required Moses to set off in an unknown journey while trusting his Creator to be his guide, his security, and his identity.

What is God calling you to do that is going to cost you everything you hold dear?  What do you need to give up in order to be the leader that God is calling you to be?  Will you trust the call of God to lead and will you follow Him wherever He leads you to lead? I’d love to hear what has been tugging at you!

Bookmark Articles of Faith: Lessons from the Wilderness

Steve Quinn, President and Consultant with Vital Leadership Consulting, is searching for new clients/opportunities for leadership development, employee engagement, and training facilitation.
He can be reached at

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