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Summary: Many of us are just like Joshua. We feel inadequate for the task of leadership.

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Even Cowards Can Become Leaders

Joshua 1:1-9

Joshua is exhibit A of a reluctant leader. In fact when it came to taking the leadership baton from Moses he was a coward. Listen to the words of the Lord to Joshua: Joshua 1:6, 7, 9 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land, I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.”

Why did God tell Joshua over and over to “Be strong and courageous?” Because Joshua was fearful of assuming leadership! Joshua felt inadequate.

Many of us are just like Joshua. We feel inadequate for the task of leadership. But the fact is that everyone here today is a leader.

Leadership can be defined as anyone who has influence. There are many times during the day that people are involved in leadership:

• A mother with child any time during the day.

• A husband and wife who seek mutual agreement on day-to-day finances.

• A nurse who patiently handles the anger of a stroke victim.

• A school teacher who excites curiosity in the minds of her students.

• A corporate executive who rejects offers of inside information to gain a competitive edge.

• A government official who takes an unpopular political stand based on principle.

God calls you to be a lead with integrity.

In one way or another we are all called to be leaders. We either lead with integrity or lead without moral integrity. God encouraged Joshua to lead. God encourages you to lead. God’s calling on His followers is for all who are part of His believing community accept the privilege of encouraging one another. I Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Encouragement is like oxygen to the soul.

You are a leader when you are sensitive to the views and feelings of other people. Leaders have the ability to listen and care for people. Leaders are people of drive. They get things done. Leaders are people of vision and passion.

Joshua is an example of a leader who was made and not born. He grew up as a slave boy in Egypt. Both his parents were slaves. Joshua was not born with a silver spoon. Joshua’s grandfather and great grandfather were slaves. All Joshua had too look forward to was a life of bondage.

As a slave Joshua knew what it was to experience suffering and pain.

When Moses led the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage Joshua was probably a young adult at the beginning of the journey the elders must have seen potential in Joshua because he was chosen along with eleven others to go scout out the land of Canaan. Only Joshua and Caleb returned with a positive report that God was with them and they indeed could conquer the land.

Forty years later after wandering in the desert Joshua continued to be a leader with faith. When God promised victory over Jericho Joshua was ready to believe and followed God’s instructions. Because of his faith Joshua was included in the Hall of Old Testament heroes, Hebrews 11:30 “By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people marched around them for seven days.”


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