POWER AND HUMILITY
One day, when Moshe was a grown man, he went out to visit his kinsmen; and he watched them struggling at forced labor. He saw an Egyptian strike a Hebrew, one of his kinsmen. He looked this way and that; and when he saw that no one was around, he killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. Exodus 2:11,12
During his early life with Batyah, a Princess of Egypt, Moses gained a sense of power, which came with his station in life. He also felt a sense of responsibility for the Hebrew slaves, with whom he felt some kinship. It is difficult to reconstruct the motivation Moses had, to kill the Egyptian, as he has long died and there is no motivation given in Scripture. However, if we examine his behaviour, we may pull out some idea of his thinking.
He came upon an isolated incident, during which an Egyptian taskmaster was whipping a fellow Hebrew. Moses looked around to see if others were watching, obviously having some fear of being discovered, if he intervened. What does this action tell us of the relationship between power and humility?
From Dictionary.com1, the meaning of power is: “capacity to do or act physically, mentally, legally, morally, financially, etc.” Then from the Miriam-Webster on-line dictionary2, the meaning of humility is: “freedom from pride or arrogance : the quality or state of being humble. Thus, when we speak of power and humility,” what is meant is: “the capacity to act without pride or arrogance.”
Did Moses act in an arrogant way? Well, considering his options, I suspect he did. For example, he could have pulled the Egyptian away from his interfering with the Hebrew slave. This might have led to an altercation, in which Moses might have been severely injured or killed. Or, it might have resulted in his being exiled by pharaoh, which is what did happen.
However, this clearly was not Yahveh’s plan for Moses, as Exodus 2 clearly indicates. When you and I act, in our power, do we abandon humility or do we act within this trait?
Joseph Rost, in his 1991 book, Leadership for the twenty-first century3, declares, a modern understanding of leadership includes ‘a saviorlike essence in a world that constantly needs saving’. This approach to the role of leader certainly does fly in the face of leadership being imbued with humility. Why is this so?
Contrary to many leaders’ perceptions, humility is not a sign of weakness; rather, a leader with humility has an inherent draw of power, which comes from her/his employees or followers. Whereas power generating fear may hold sway for a short time, time and time again history shows us that leaders who engage in this style of leadership soon fall from grace, as those who are subjected to the fear often rebel. Many fear-based leaders claim this is the most effective way to meet productivity goals; however, the unintended consequences of such fear prove otherwise.
Fear-based leadership will diminish trust within a group and will often turn the group into gangs, vying with each other for recognition and acceptance by the leader. Productivity ultimately declines, as teams work to sabotage the efforts of other teams. Communications within the organization begin to break down, leaving everyone in a deficit position. But how is leadership through humility different?
Working with a humble leader, employees or followers feel included and welcome. They are free to express the opinions and perceptions of a strategy, even if it means contradicting the leader. Often such approaches are awarded, as they move the teams and the organization forward, with improved or increased productivity. Within humble leadership is the ability to allow others to shine, keeping the spotlight on those who show a desire to help create a more forward-looking organization. A humble leader will institute learning strategies within the teams, to ensure everyone has an opportunity to grow and awards such growth, in many different ways.
Mediacorp Canada4, Inc. has identified 100 Canadian companies that provide tuition reimbursement or pay tuition directly for employees who wish to improve their education. The list of these companies may be found at https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/careers/top-employers/article-to-attract-and-recruit-young-people-these-top-employers-deliver/. So what does all this say to us, as we lead others?
Clearly, the way Yahveh wishes us to lead follows very closely the model set for us by Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus. The most powerful example of His humble behaviour may be found in John 13:3-5, when He washed the feet of His disciples, as they sat for their Passover Seder. Such a behaviour is indicative of His general tendency towards being humble with the power He exuded.
Beloved, when we move forward in leadership, imbued with humility, we are drawing others to the power of Adonai Yeshua and to the Majesty of Yahveh, our Eternal God. I pray we all exhibit this trait in our leadership.
May the God of Avraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you richly.
3 Rost, Joseph C., Leadership for the twenty-first century, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1991, Pg.
To read a preview of “A Journey Through Torah: An Introduction to God’s Life Instructions for His Children – Volume One: Genesis” click HERE
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