Photo by inspiwrit
While Numbers 11 gave us a story of how difficult it is to carry the burden of leadership, Numbers 12 gives us the other side of the leadership story. The Hyper Vigilance. Leaders, are individuals in the spotlight. By virtue of their positions and by virtue of our beliefs (sometimes mythical ones) about leadership, everybody is inspecting the leader closely. Everybody is looking at you all the time. While they are many, you are only one. This kind of scrutiny can never be reciprocated. And when all the attention of many people is directed at one place, it is very easy to find faults, even in place where there none.
And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married; for he had married a Cushite woman.
And they said, Hath Jehovah indeed spoken only with Moses? hath he not spoken also with us?
Miriam and Aaron, Moses, sister and brother notice something about Moses. He married a Cushite woman. For those of you whose Hebrew is weak, a Cushite woman means a black woman. Right there and then, the fear of the different comes about. And suddenly, Moses’ personal life choice becomes a fault with his leadership. They start doubting that Moses is indeed so special. “We can do what he can…” they thing to themselves… “what makes him so special?”… “look at who he married”.
The story tells us that God intervenes and shows them how special Moses really is. In a very blunt and ruthless way. I will leave you to read the details.
For me, the moral of the story is different and is twofold. First, it is easy to find fault in somebody if we really try to look for it. The bible actually tells us that: “the man Moses was very meek, above all the men that were upon the face of the earth”. And still, Miriam and Aaron were able to find fault in him. What does that tell us about the way we treat our leaders? Second, the fact that somebody is not perfect does not mean that he or she are not fit. Finding fault in everybody is easy, because nobody is perfect. It is easy to criticize our leaders. But when we do, we need to realize that expecting them to be perfect is wrong, that they are brave for stepping up and taking the lead and that there is a difference between saying what leaders should do and actually being in the position and doing it.