Friday, April 17, 2009

Young Assistant

[From 4-6-09]

"Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then he would return to the camp; but his young assistant, Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the tent."
(Exodus 33:11)

There's no doubt that Moses was THE MAN! He and God were close. It could even be argued that no one was closer to God in the OT than Moses. It's interesting to me that Moses had a "young assistant" that's mentioned throughout Exodus. This person was privy to many of the most intimate meetings between God & Moses. This man was Joshua.

It's intriguing that scripture mentions he's a "young" assistant. Why not simply assistant? I'd always assumed Mo picked Joshua because he was "the brightest and best" around. That could very well be. But he was also young. Did Moses know an older person might have jealously or rivalry issues... and a younger one might be more open to a mentoring role? Or was Moses intent on specifically raising up a young leader alongside his ministry?

A close friend of mine is a pastor of a large church. he's always had a "young assistant" working with him, since I've known him. This person is not his admin/secretary (He has another person for those duties). I'd always wondered why the need for a personal assistant in addition to a secretary (then again, this friend's church is about 4x as big as mine, so I may just not be aware of the volume of demands placed on the senior pastor of a large church)?

Anyway, while reading Exodus today, I was suddenly open to the realization that Moses was investing in the life of young Joshua. Moses was giving Josh the chance to "see leadership" and ministry in action. Sure, we know Joshua grew up to take over the leadership when Moses died, and he was an excellent leader. But was he born with excellence? Or might he have learned about excellence while working with Moses? (Or maybe a little of both!?!)

There seems to be incredible wisdom in having a "young assistant" in ministry (or in whatever you do as your main passion - even caring for a household). To invite someone into "your area of expertise" involves a certain amount of humility (not being focused only on "me"), grace, patience & vision. It requires transparency & trust, if done well. Will every 'young assistant' turn out to be a Joshua? Of course not. But what a wonderful opportunity to share one's experience with God as a leader with someone else (or whatever your specialty area is - do it from a standpoint of faith, too!)... in hopes they, too, might live a life in the Spirit!

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