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The Failure of a Leader

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As leaders, we may be good workers; but if we do not prepare leaders, we have failed.

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I am from the epoch of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Aqua Man, Wonder Woman, and others that escape my memory. How many are familiar with them? Mine was Superman.
Everyone had an archenemy and a weakness. For Superman was Lex Luthor and Kryponite; for Batman was Joker and his hidden identity.
When I think of leaders, I think of supermen that distinguish themselves in many areas, but that usually fail in a very important one.
Joshua is my biblical hero. A great man of God that failed in a critical area.
Read Joshua 24:29-33
Joshua had been Moses’ right hand. He was chosen by God to replace Moses.
The shoes Joshua had to fill were big, but Joshua did a great job. He had the privilege of leading the people in the conquest of the Promised Land.
He had an exemplary and faithful family. At the end of his ministry, he challenged Israel:
Joshua 24:15 NASB95
“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
He risked being rejected by the people, but he had decided to follow the Lord; a decision he had made for himself 40 years earlier, but now was deciding that his family would do the same.
Ar Kadesh Barnea, together with Caleb, they were the only ones among the leaders who believed the promises of the Lord regarding the land. “The Lord will give it to us. He is with us.”
Numbers 14:6–9 NASB95
Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. “If the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us—a land which flows with milk and honey. “Only do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”
Num 14:6-9
Nothing negative is said about Joshua in any other biblical records. That does not mean he did not make any mistake! His failure was not preparing a successor. Such failure was the result of three big mistakes:
Nothing negative is said about Joshua in any other biblical records. That does not mean he did not do any mistake! He did three big mistakes:

He forgot that his leadership was temporary.

“Josua…died being one hundred and ten years old” 29

No leader last forever.

Moses’ leadership lasted forty years.
Joshua was 110 years old when he died (24:29). Therefore, his leadership lasted only 15 years (1405-1390 BC).
We should never forget that one day we’ll die. Then what?
After his death, period of the judges began. A period of 339 years characterized by one thing: its lack of leadership.
No matter how healthy or young we are, one day, we will leave this earth or the ministry; for good or bad reasons!
After his death, period of the judges began. A period of 339 years characterized by one thing: its lack of leadership.
After his death, period of the judges began. A period of 339 years characterized by one thing: its lack of leadership.
Judges 17:6 NASB95
In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.
Judg 17L
How long will your ministry last? 10,20,30? Do you know for sure?
The average pastorate in the same church last less than 3 years. 50% of those that start pastoring will not last five years. “Most are like migratory birds changing location every season of the year.”
No matter how healthy or young we are, one day, we will leave this earth or the ministry; for good or bad reasons!

He worked only for the present.

“Life can be only understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” (Soren Kierkegard)
“The future depends on what you do today.” (Ghandi)

Hard work is focused on the present.

Most leaders or pastors are hard workers and, very often, perfectionists. Perfectionists are, by nature, focused on the present task trying to make the best as possible. Seldom they allow others to do it, because they think that no one can make it as good as them.
Joshua dedicated himself to the present task of conquering the land, defeating the enemies, and distributing the land according to the Lord’s instructions.
He took to heart this instruction given to him by Moses:
Joshua 1:8 NASB95
“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
Jos
He was obedient to it, day after day, and was a hard working general, but he forgot that we have to live as we will die tomorrow, but plan as we gonna live forever. That is “have vision”, because vision is for the future.

Vision is for the future.

Life is short, buy the glasses.
Where there is no vision, the people will perish (are unrestrained, se desenfrena).
Joshua did not think, What will it happen to this people when I am gone?
What did it happen to them? They were unrestrained! As expresses it:
Joshua did not think, What will it happen to this people when I am gone?
“In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.” Judges 17:6
Leaders are always busy, but sometimes they are too busy plugging holes to keep the boat afloat that they do not see where the boat is heading to.
We should think five or ten years ahead of us.
“Leaders are limited by their vision rather than by their abilities.”
“The only thing worse than being blind is have sight but no vision.” Hellen Keller

He did not mentor a future leader.

Leaders are commanded to do it.

Paul said this way,
2 Timothy 2:2 NASB95
The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
It is not optional, it is necessary!
We must reproduce ourselves in others. Reproduction is the key for the growth of the Church and the growth of leadership. The church dies when reproduction ceases.
Not preparing leaders was the kryptonite of Joshua, my great hero

Leaders should identify and train leadership prospects.

Caleb was as old as Joshua to take the reins. A few years later, he had to offer his daughter to anyone willing to attack Kiriath-sepher. Othniel, his nephew, did it. He was valiant warrior, but not a leader.
Paul saw leadership potential in Timothy. He trained him and mentor him and, eventually, Timothy became the pastor of the church Paul had started in Ephesus.
No matter the kind of ministry we have, we should be training and mentoring our replacement. If we get sick, our mentored one can cover us. If we need a break, who will replace us? If we die, who will continue the ministry entrusted to us?
Let’s no make the same mistake as Joshua! Life is short, let’s buy the glasses that will help us to identify prospects and let’s start training them.
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