Moses arguably did more for God and his cause than anyone else in the Old Testament. He suffered, stood up to Pharoah, led a rumbly and grumbly people and handed off leadership smoothly. The Bible calls him "God's friend."
But Moses never made it to the Promised Land. And he's not alone.
Many leaders get stuff rolling, but don't cross the finish line.
And that's not so bad. If we're leading people to promised lands, what we care most about is that they make it. It's one of the biggest thrills to see something you set in motion stay in motion, accelerating by the grace of God, not just coasting on inertia.
Martin Luther King Jr. captured this feeling in his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech. Going to the mountaintop and seeing the promised land was enough. It was enough for him to know that "we, as a people, will get to the promised land!"
And I would expect friend-of-God Moses to abide by this selfless leadership principle. Wouldn't you?
But he doesn't.
In Deuteronomy 3, Moses keeps pushing God, begging God to allow him to enter the Promised Land. And, I've got to be honest, this stuns me.
Here I am, trying to ignore my desires and needs, to be selfless. And Moses keeps using his direct line to God to ask for personal favors.
But his personal favor requests reveal a deep longing for God, a respect and valuing of God's work in the world. I mean, Moses doesn't just want to go to the Promised Land. He wants to go where God is.
And this is kind of beautiful, right? This is a man who knew and loved God, even though he didn't get what he asked for.
And now I'm wondering: what do our attempts at selfless leadership do to our relationships with God?