Bible Book: Exodus

A brightly burning campfire

Inner Work as Preparation for Leadership: The Case of Moses

The story of Moses at the burning bush reminds us of something we have seen many times before in this _Life for Leaders _series on inner work. Yes, inner work is something we do. And, yes, it often happens when we are by ourselves, in a place to reflect thoughtfully and feel freely. But inner work is also something we do with God. We may never have an epiphany as astounding as a voice from a burning bush, but we are certainly welcomed and encouraged to invite God into our internal process. Moreover, it is often the case that we begin our inner work in response to God’s prior invitation. In conversation with God, we can reflect honestly upon our strengths and weaknesses. We can be honest about our fears and look to God for confidence and courage. Thus, our inner work helps us prepare for the leadership tasks that lay before us. 

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Women preparing sandwiches at a Five Guys restaurant

Who Gets to Rest from Working?

In Exodus 20, God says that sabbath rest is for everyone, including “you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.” Each of us must take seriously the implications of this commandment for ourselves. And if we have authority over others in the workplace, we must make sure they have the opportunity to rest and refresh on a regular basis.

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An older couple sitting on a bench overlooking a beach

The Command to Work and Rest

The way we experience work and rest will vary with our situation and season in life. But no matter our context or age, we will honor God’s design and desire if we live according to a faithful and wise pattern of work and rest. 

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A father and child playing at the beach

The First “Holiday”

The word “holiday” comes from the older English phrase, “holy day.” The first holiday, therefore, was the day when God stopped working and “made holy” the seventh day. Scripture says we are to keep the sabbath holy in response to and in imitation of what God did on the seventh day. We keep the sabbath holy by ceasing from work and receiving God’s gift of rest. 

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Graffiti in white letters on a black wall reading "DREAM BIG"

The Song of Miriam – II

In the full song of Moses and Miriam, we see their declaration that the Lord was their strength and their salvation. This was their father’s God and their mother’s god. Their tia’s and abuelita’s God. A God of old who calls and guides, loves, and sustains our work and our role in it.

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A tambourine with beautiful embroidered decorations on a red background, hanging on a tree in a forest

The Song of Miriam – I

Miriam was around 85 years old before they crossed over the Red Sea. Yet she had been living into her vocation of prophetess since she was a young girl. If you remember, she secured Moses’ rescue with her mother Jochebed and convinced Pharaoh’s daughter to disobey her father’s orders and to take her baby brother into the palace. God did not undermine Miriam’s youth in order to use her calling and develop her voice as a prophetess.

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A man putting a wedding ring on a woman's finger

Moses Didn’t Do It Alone, Part 9

Exodus 19 shows us that God set the Israelites free from Egypt, not only so that individuals might enjoy a fruitful life, but also so that the people of Israel would enter into a covenant relationship with God and with each other. We will experience the abundant life God has for us when we live in a deep, committed relationship with God and God’s people.  

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A group of people in a circle joining hands at the center

Moses Didn’t Do It Alone, Part 8

Exodus 18 reminds us that wise delegation is essential if we’re not going to “do it alone.” We must delegate appropriately if our work is going to be both successful and sustainable. But even the very best delegation doesn’t eliminate the need for God’s presence and guidance. Only with God’s help will we be able to delegate and manage in a way that leads to productivity and peace. 

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Two construction workers looking out over a construction site

Moses Didn’t Do It Alone, Part 7

The example of Moses challenges and encourages us to be humble leaders. This means we will be open to receiving advice from others and, at times, even criticism. Our top commitment will be, not to our own egos, but rather to the flourishing of whatever it is we’re leading: a company, a school, a city, a church, a non-profit, a studio, or a family. In this way we will not do it alone.

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A woman and a man talking over a laptop in a conference room

Moses Didn’t Do It Alone, Part 6

After leading the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses sought to govern them. But that task was more than he could handle. His father-in-law, out of care for Moses, encouraged him to delegate substantial portions of his work. Moses listened to his father-in-law and gave many of his responsibilities to others. Moses was able to receive criticism from his father-in-law because of his obvious care for Moses and his commitment to the work Moses was doing.

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A group of people seen from the floor standing in a circle and linking hands

Moses Didn’t Do It Alone, Part 5

A story in Exodus illustrates powerfully the fact that we “can’t do it alone” when it comes to our work and leadership. God set things up so that Moses had to rely on the help of Aaron and Hur if the Israelites were going to prevail in battle. You and I need our own “Aarons and Hurs,” those who support us in our work. Plus, we have the opportunity to be for others an Aaron or a Hur. As you go through this day, find a way to support someone who is working hard and needs your encouragement.

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A woman dancing against the background of a brightly lit sky

Moses Didn’t Do It Alone, Part 4

Though Moses was the main leader of the exodus of Israel from Egypt, he had crucial partners in his brother, Aaron, and sister, Miriam. Through the prophet Micah, the Lord once said to the Israelites, “For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of slavery; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam” (Micah 6:4). Moses was not alone as he exercised leadership. 

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Two brightly colored hands reaching out to each other in an echo of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel image

Moses Didn’t Do It Alone, Part 3

No matter what you’re facing today, no matter how overwhelming it might feel, no matter how limited you might feel, there is good news. First, God is with you to help you. Second, God is gracious and patient with you. Third, in the right time and right way, God will bring people into your life as partners and supporters. No matter what God is calling you to today, you don’t have to do it alone because God and God’s people are with you. 

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Two hands holding up puzzle pieces

Moses Didn’t Do It Alone, Part 2

Though God’s promise to be with us should be enough to give us the courage to do whatever God asks of us, sometimes we hesitate because we’re aware of our own shortcomings. That’s what Moses did when God called him at the burning bush. But God did not reject Moses. Rather, God graciously supplied a partner whose strengths made up for Moses’s weaknesses. God often assures us that God is with us through the people in our lives.

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An intense fire burning

Moses Didn’t Do It Alone, Part 1

When God told Moses to go to Egypt to set God’s people free, Moses asked, “Who am I?” God’s answer pointed, not to Moses’s talents or background, but rather to God’s own presence. “I will be with you,” God said. What God once said to Moses God also says to us. When we wonder if we can make it, when we feel exhausted or overwhelmed, when we worry that our resources are too few, God says, “I am with you.” What could be better than having the God of the Universe with us?

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