A friend once invited me to join him and several other guests on a day sail off the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. After his rhapsodic description of the classic sailboat and his praise of the captain whom I was going to be fortunate enough to meet, I could hardly accept quickly enough. My enthusiasm ran high as we gently glided out of Cape Town harbor and beyond the sheltering mass of famous Table Mountain.
They only renamed the Cape of Good Hope because its original name, the Cape of Storms, terrified early sailors discouraging them from signing on to crew the ships of the Dutch East Indian Company. That afternoon it lived up to its original name. The winds howled, the waves tossed around our seventy-foot masterpiece of teak wood and canvas and we all struggled mightily to reduce the sail and bring the powerful vessel under control.
Strangely enough, the captain who had been resplendent in his smart blazer and cap during the calm first hour while offering drinks and regaling us with his adventures, was nowhere to be seen. We were all too busy (and frightened) to wonder where he was. In his absence, we did our best trying to learn one another’s strengths and skills as we exerted our last ounces of energy defeating the wind and water. Once we were finally through the storm and calmly ghosting back into the harbor our captain reappeared in full regalia and blusteringly explained to our exhausted little group everything we had done wrong. I whispered to my friend that I had just gained an unforgettable lesson in what leadership was not.
Leadership means being there with your people during the storms and wars of life.
Joshua succeeded Moses as leader of the Israelites. Moses began his career when God appeared to him at the Burning Bush (Exodus chapter 3) and Joshua started his when Moses appointed him in accordance with God’s directive. (Numbers chapter 27)