Leadership is always a temporary assignment—always. It is a temporary assignment because leaders do not ultimately own the teams, ministries, or organizations that they lead. They simply steward what the Lord has entrusted to their care for a season.
Wise leaders embrace the temporal reality of leading, and they prepare the ministry for the future. Because the assignment is fleeting, developing others for leadership is an essential responsibility of a leader.
Moses understood the temporal reality of leadership and the necessity to develop others. He personally selected and invested in leaders. As you read through the Scripture, you see him pouring into his successor, Joshua. Moses took Joshua up the mountain to receive the tablets. Joshua was with Moses when Moses crushed the tablets. Joshua guarded the tent of meeting as Moses met with the Lord. Joshua was the one chosen to spot out the land of Canaan.
Through all these critical moments in the life of God’s people, Joshua was there with Moses. And immediately after Moses’ death, Joshua was ready to lead Israel.
After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, who had served Moses: “Moses My servant is dead. Now you and all the people prepare to cross over the Jordan to the land I am giving the Israelites. (Joshua 1:1-2)
The leadership legacy of Joshua, sadly, is very different:
Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110… That whole generation was also gathered to their ancestors. After them another generation rose up who did not know the Lord or the works He had done for Israel. (Judges 2:8, 10)
Why the stark contrast? There is no record of Joshua investing in anyone. We don’t see him intentionally developing leaders. We don’t read of him pouring into others. And the generation after his leadership doesn’t know the Lord.
A soul-searching question: If you were to hand your temporary leadership assignments over today, would a statement about your leadership sound more like Moses or more like Joshua?
Your leadership has a shelf life. Embrace it. And prepare the ministry for the future by preparing others now.