Leadership Is A Foul-Weather Job


Peter Drucker said, "Leadership is a foul-weather job." He would get a big "Amen" from Joshua on that.

Joshua assumed the leadership of the nation of Israel after the death of Moses. It was his job to lead the conquest of the Promised Land. This was not going to be easy. He faced hostile inhabitants with relatively untested troops. And while Joshua had watched God perform miracles, many of this new generation had only heard of God's wonders.

So there he was on the "safe side" of the Jordan River when God spoke:

9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
— Joshua 1:9 NIV

I find it interesting that God told Joshua -- in advance -- not to be discouraged. The English Standard Version of the Bible uses the word "dismayed" in the place of "discouraged." Either word works. The root word means "to be broken" so when used in the abstract, as it is here, it carries the idea of being fearful, demoralized, discouraged or dismayed.

God's words to Joshua have me rethinking my leadership especially as it relates to setbacks, difficulties, and hard times.

Here are a few of my takeaways:

  1. Challenges must be embraced as part of the leadership gig.
  2. Setback, difficulties, hard times, and fear cannot always be equated with God's disfavor.
  3. My security comes from God, not my circumstances. God's answer to Joshua's discouragement was His promise ("I will give you every place you set your foot" v. 3) and His presence ("I will be with you" v. 5, 9).
  4. God is bigger than any problem I face.
  5. Leadership means that I can expect to sweat.

If you are sitting in the leader's chair you know that tough times are a part of this role. That's not sour thinking, it is the reality that accompanies leading.

Leadership is a foul-weather job. The good news is that Christian leaders know the one who controls the weather. Do not be discouraged.


Notes: Background on the word "discouragement" from Bowling, A. (1999). 784 חָתַת. In R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (336). Chicago: Moody Press.