77. Leadership Secrets: 12. Joshua: Leaving a legacy
Last week we saw how Joshua took care of his people. As a leader, he did not hang them out to dry, or left them to fend for themselves. He went to help them when they went to him for help.
Today, we will cover the last leadership secret of Joshua for this series. I am sure he has many more leadership traits, but for the purposes of this blog, we will stop with this last item: leaving a legacy.
As a leader, do we just go to a role, play the role and leave the role? Usually, no.
Whether we like to or not, we will leave a bit of us behind, amongst the team, the work, the team members, and the people we have interacted with as a team.
The question is usually not if we leave a legacy, it is What kind of legacy are we leaving behind?
When we leave a team, are the team members happy we are leaving? Are they glad we are not messing teams up? Or are they sad that they lost a good leader?
When we leave a team, do we leave them better off than before we joined the team? Or worst off?
Let us take a look at Joshua.
When he was old and about to leave the people of God, what did he do?
Joshua chapter 23
23 After a long time had passed and the Lord had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them, Joshua, by then a very old man, 2 summoned all Israel—their elders, leaders, judges and officials—and said to them: “I am very old. 3 You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord your God who fought for you. 4 Remember how I have allotted as an inheritance for your tribes all the land of the nations that remain—the nations I conquered—between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 The Lord your God himself will push them out for your sake. He will drive them out before you, and you will take possession of their land, as the Lord your God promised you.
He reminds his people, the people he is leading, he will be going off soon. He reminds them of their accomplishments. He reminds them of the author of their success, God. He reminds them of their goals (vision). He reminds them of the hope they have in the Lord.
6 “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. 7 Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. 8 But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.
He gives them advice on how to carry on. He advises them to persevere, to follow their guidance manual, their instructions, their source of strength and direction. He advises them to cling on to what is right, to focus on the right things, their God.
9 “The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. 10 One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. 11 So be very careful to love the Lord your God.
He reminds them of their source of strength and success, God. He reminds them not to waiver in their reliance and trust in God.
So how about us today?
We have been taught and always expected to be self reliant, to be independent. Joshua taught his people the opposite, to trust God, to rely on God, to be dependent on him.
Isn't that counter cultural? Isn't that quite the opposite of how we were brought up?