Here we are in part one of the new #DailyNumbers series – Numbers 1:1-54! This chapter does a great job of setting the scene: the people are in the desert, it is two years after their escape from Egypt, they have been growing (numerically), and now it is time to do an internal assessment (how many people do we now have, and how are we organized? – important questions for every leader). I can see at least three leadership principles:
- Know who is with you. When we read verses 5-16 it is easy to skim over the weird names and move on to what is next. But that would be unwise. The twelve men listed were one of the keys to the people’s (and Moses’) success. The task at hand was much too large for Moses alone, and he needed twelve trustworthy leaders to help him, each of whom came with credibility in their own contexts (ie, they were tribal leaders).
- Do you have people like that in your leadership context? If not, you need them.
- Know what you have to work with. The purpose of the census was to see how many soldiers were available. As the mission intensified, so to the need for an accurate count increased. Moses needed to know exactly how many resources were available to him, so that he could make the best decisions possible.
- In your leadership context, do you know what resources are available to you, or are you making (dangerous) assumptions?
- Everyone doesn’t fight. It seems to me that verses 47-53 are incredibly important to the success of the mission that God had given to Moses and the people. Even though the Levites were not on the front lines (literally), their role was critical. Spiritually, they gave leadership to the people’s relationship with God, their moral integrity, etc, and organizationally, they were connected to heart and vision of the mission. The Levites guarded the core of the organization.
- In your leadership context, do you recognize the value of everyone, regardless of their “location” (front lines, core values, mission, etc), or are you too focused on just one group of people?
Now of course, as we go through this series we will see that the “organization” is not just human-centred, it is spiritual as well (and in fact, it is spiritual at the core – Moses’ and the people’s mission is actually God’s mission). That being said, good leadership is good leadership, regardless of the context!