Do you ever feel like you just don’t have the strength to stand? Often on the paths of leadership, you’ll see (birds of a feather, right?) other leaders struggling. One of three things can happen to this leader. Another leader can lift the struggler up, they can ignore the struggler as if they don’t see it, or they can purposefully avoid the struggler, as if their plight is a contagious disease.
It’s true that if a person is down, it’s no fun to come down off of cloud nine and sit in the dirt with your friend, but that’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re not called to be a light to a bright world. We’re called to be light to those who NEED light!
God gives us two pictures of how we should react to those who are struggling. In Luke 20:30-35, Jesus tells us of The Good Samaritan.
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
The funny thing is, the people who you’d think would stop—the priest and a Levite—not only ignored the man, but they moved as far away from him as they could, keeping only their own journey right in front of them. No doubt the man who had been beaten was moaning or asking for help. He’d been beaten and was naked! The priest and Levite men held positions that exemplified character, kindness, helpfulness and compassion. Yet they saw him and chose to pass by. They closed their eyes to what they saw, and closed their ears to his cries for help. And then there was the Samaritan. When he saw a person in need—a stranger and a Jew—he stopped. He didn’t just carry the man to safety so someone else could handle it. He bandaged the wounds. He took the man and put him on his own donkey, while he (the Samaritan) walked. He took him to the inn and took care of him, and he paid for the man to stay there until he was well.
Can you think of someone in your life who is asking for help? Perhaps they haven’t physically been beaten but they’re downhearted and ready to give up, and God is whispering for YOU to shine the light to lift them out of the darkness.
Maybe they don’t need light. Maybe they just need a shoulder.
When Moses had left the Desert of Sin, Joshua was preparing to lead the Israeli army against the Amalekites. Exodus 17:8-11 says,
“The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”
So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.”
Moses held his hands up, and the entire army was winning. And it doesn’t say “if” he lowered his hands, the Bible says “when.” Aaron and Hur would hold his hands up when he was tired, but even that became hard for all of them. I can relate; can you? It’s hard to keep your hands up all the time, isn’t it? Moses was weary, and tired, and there just seemed to be no end in sight. The fact that he was weary and felt the physical need to lower his arms doesn’t mean his cause wasn’t a good one. And it doesn’t mean he was a bad leader. He was just worn out. No doubt he had prayed some very similar prayers to the ones we pray, asking God for help when we can’t hold ourselves up one more day.
But Aaron and Hur had a wonderful idea. Moses could lean on their shoulders. They found a rock, and had Moses sit on the rock so that he was lower than they were. His arms could naturally rest on their shoulders, and he would still have his arms raised so the Israelite army would conquer the Amalekites.
If that isn’t teamwork, I don’t know what is. Moses and Hur didn’t have to do the work for Moses, they simply needed to lend him a shoulder so He could do as God had requested. They didn’t honor God by caring for the Jew who had been robbed and beaten like the Samaritan did. They honored God by supporting their leader.
If you’re struggling like the man on the road to Jericho, take heart.
God sees you.
He hears you.
He loves you.
Ask for help and He will send it.
If you’re a leader who is not struggling, remember Moses. When Aaron and Hur lifted Moses’ hand, they all flourished. Who can you provide a shoulder to right now so that they can lead their own army onto victory.
Your spiritual cheerleader,