There is something inspiring about the view from the heights. The oversight quotient of leadership gets drawn out and sharpened. It is so easy to become preoccupied with what confronts us daily, directly at the rock face. It is easy to become focussed with the small and forget the big picture, the meta-narrative, the whole mandate that we are required to lead the God community into.
Exodus 17 is a marvellous "From the hill top" story. It is a people on the move...The whole Israelite community set out... We simply cannot forget that we are a people on a journey - be it personal being transformed from one degree of glory to the next or a community who are on their God authored exodus out of... into.
This two part chapter is worth reflection and meditation. The first part finds the people quarreling ... grumbling. As a leader, that is exhausting. Moses' prayer is that of a desperate man: "What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me" The Lord's instruction is simple: "Walk on ahead of the people..." These simple words carry a ton of truth. As leaders we can simply not allow ourselves to get bogged down by the grumbling and quarreling. We build community families. Families quarrel. The immature with each other. The siblings with each other. The parents with each other. That is the reality of our journey toward maturity.
The Lord's exhortation to Moses is simple : "Get walking". These are not the times to climb off the wall [ala Nehemia] to become the quarrel solver. "Get walking" - it is the time for the visioneer to re-engage himself in the big picture. "Get walking"- find a garden to walk with the Father in the cool of the day. "Get walking" - rediscover the pathway and create the vaccum to draw others back onto the journey. "Get walking" - find the hill top , a hill to die on, a reason to lay our lives down. "Get walking" - is the moment to move from caretaker / manager to prophet-pioneer. "Get walking" sometimes means calling an enlarging friend who will not climb into the hole with you, but will 'apostle' you out of the darkness of your challenge and breathe God life into your bones, to empower you to "get walking".
Too many churches get bogged down with a 'pastor / teacher' matrix which often shrinks them, to the newest or largest pastoral matter to resolve. The elder team are to be men who lead 'vision - driven' kingdom communities, where there is more emphasis on the journey than on the grumbling, faults and flaws. "Get walking..."