One of my favorite sermon series I did while planting LifePoint was one that examined the leadership of Moses. We took about six weeks and looked at the various aspects of his leadership, from his calling to how he handled challenges.
Numbers 11 is a good example. The burden of leading a surly group like the Israelites was taking its toll on Moses. The chapter begins with the people complaining (no surprise there). Scholars estimate the number of people Moses was leading to be between 500,000 and a million. That’s no small number.
Moses is ready to walk away. The loneliness of leadership is almost too much.
That’s when God offers a remedy. It’s found in Numbers 11:16-17 … “The Lord said to Moses: ‘Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the Tent of Meeting, that they may stand there with you. I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone'” (emphasis mine).
Two things stand out.
First, Moses was not to select random people to help share the load. There would be no lottery system. These were to be men who were known to Moses as ones who were leaders. Since they would be working closely with Moses, it was important for them to have a relationship with him.
The second thing about this passage is what God promised to do: put the Spirit that is in Moses in the men Moses selected. God is longing to reproduce good leaders. We certainly participate in that reproduction through mentoring, coaching, and discipling up-and-coming leaders. In the end, however, it is God who will put his Spirit in those that he has chosen.
This is how God moves his people beyond teamwork to true community.