We recently had over a 1000 photographs digitized so as to ensure their longevity. The other night we were looking at most of the images on our computer and reminiscing about the different stages we have been through as a family. It was a lot of fun to stop and take note of the growth, the changes, and the memories. In many ways it was a form of celebration.
Sometimes leaders are so focused on the future that they rarely stop and take time to look back to celebrate. Yet, followers need times like this, and so do the leaders.
In chapter four of the book of Joshua in the Bible, Joshua is commanded by God to gather twelve stones. Each stone was to represent one of the tribes of Israel. It was to stand as a memorial marking the crossing of the Jordan River by the Israelites as they entered the promised land.
And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children as their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” Joshua 4:21-24
The first point was to create a memorial for future generations of Israelites to remind them of God’s actions on their behalf in delivering them out of Egypt. The second point was to be a witness to the rest of the world about the power and might of God. Notice that the honoree was God and not Joshua. I think this was a reminder to Joshua, as well as the people, that God uses leaders to accomplish his purposes and to honor himself. This was to stand as a testament to the grace of God and his use of a leader.
As spiritual leaders we must be cognizant of the same thing. God appoints leaders to use leaders, but the glory and honor are his. It behooves us to establish God memorials too. We need clear markers and reminders, that when asked how such a great accomplishment was achieved, we can clearly point back to the grace of God and recount the story. It provides the opportunity to celebrate God’s grace and God’s goodness.
How will you lead in remembrance? There are many creative ways you can point yourself, your family, and your followers back to the grace of God in your lives. Pictures, a journal, literal stones–or even a blog–can be used as memorials of God’s grace in the life of a leader and a people. Out of our brokenness we are forgetful people. We need visual reminders of God’s greatness and our need for him.
Are you leading in remembrance? Create a memorial today. Go and collect some “stones” and tell their story. Lead well!