"Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them-to the Israelites.
"Moses, My servant is dead; now therefore arise,
Moses My servant is dead. So now arise [take his place]
KING JIMMIE HISSELF
Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
Moses, my servant, is dead. Get going.
I've been reading Joshua. :) I love how the book opens (obviously)...with the flat announcement - a reminder, really - to Joshua, that Moses is dead and Joshua needs to engage in leadership. I doubt that Joshua was really unaware that Moses was dead...after all, he'd been Moses' right hand for years. At a spry 120, Moses had gotten a glimpse of the promised land and laid down and died. Deuteronomy says they mourned him for 30 days. Joshua was filled with a spirit of wisdom from the time Moses had laid hands on him...he was the obvious successor in the eyes of people and the eyes of God, yet when the next book of the Bible opens, he gets a gentle reminder: "Moses is dead. Get going."
There's something about young leaders that keeps them living in the shadow of the past. Whether our mentors were good ones or bad, we spend a good portion of our lives doing things in comparison to or in rejection of how our leaders led us. Often we don't step into our own until long after our Moses is dead...and in the meantime, those we serve suffer under archaic models or, just as bad, models reactionary to those we learned. Once in a great while you meet a young leader who knows who he is and has the fortitude to fully be that right out of the gate - not in response to a mentor, but in response to God's invitation to leadership.
Let me encourage you with this - Moses is dead. You were called to lead...today. If you're mentoring young leaders, then die a little yourself, and let them step into who they're supposed to be. For all the church's railing against cloning, we're terribly guilty of it in the ecclesiastical sense. How else can you explain all the Willow-Driven Pre-Seeker Post-Post-Modern Post Toastie church plants? To lead is to develop those who are following into their full potential, not yours.
Leaders, Moses is dead. I charge you: Lead on, for crying out loud.