Today I would like to begin with a statement: Great men are great men before they become great men. If you achieve any great success in your Christian life, it will be from a foundation of some sort. Aristotle said, “He who cannot be a good follower cannot be a good leader.” We are not naturally drawn to that type of philosophy. I would like to take us today to the Old Testament where we meet two men. First, there is Moses.
Moses is one of the greatest – if not the greatest – leader of men in human history. Not that he had the best resume. He was born a slave, he had a stutter and a temper, and spent much of his life in obscurity caring for his father-in-law’s sheep.
Yet, Moses challenged the world’s most powerful ruler and led millions of people from slavery to freedom. Moses received the Ten Commandments from God and taught them to the people.
Moses knew how to lead! However, there is the dilemma that leadership is always temporary, no one lives forever. What will happen next?
It is here we meet Joshua. We first meet Joshua in Exodus 17 when Moses chose him to lead the Israelite army against the Amalekites. He was a great warrior but in Exodus 24 we read that Joshua was Moses’ minister (or servant). There we see that he was essentially the “camp servant” while they were on the mountain. What did Joshua do? He did whatever Moses told him to do! It seems that no job was too big and no job was too small.
Eventually, Moses charged Joshua with leading the people. Finally, the day had come! For 40 years he had served God’s chosen leader and the children of Israel. Now HE was the chosen leader. Years later Jesus would proclaim, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much,” a principle true in all ages.
Now for the fascinating part of this story: The Bible says in Joshua 4:14: “On that day the Lord magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him ...” Notice, it does not say God changed him. When you magnify something, you simply reveal what you could not see clearly before. God just showed the people what Joshua already was! Great men are great men before they become great men. Joshua’s greatness was found in his willingness to serve God in any capacity. He was willing to be in the background. Our focus should not be on promoting ourselves, but rather, allowing God to prepare us for his service. Be great today – serve someone.