Lonely At The Top

October 19, 2015
by Martin Wiles

Numbers 21:5 – They began to speak against God and Moses. "Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?" they complained. "There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!" (NLT)

If I thought it, I was wrong. No one ever said that leading was easy or popular. I had been chosen as the leader of a local organization. Accepting the position required moving almost three hours away. Since my wife and I felt the Lord calling us there, we went. Things went well initially — until I began changing some things. With the help of a few key leaders, we made some changes that would take the entity to new heights by making it more competitive and attractive — and it worked. More people began to join, people who would serve it well into the next generation. Then it happened. Grumbling. Complaining. The majority followed my lead and enjoyed the new growth and opportunities. Others remained, but continually grumbled and complained. A few chose to leave. It got lonely at the top.

Moses knew how lonely the top could be. The job that God offered him seemed attractive, yet scary. Who wouldn't want to lead millions of people? Soon after he took the position, the grumbling and complaining began. They didn't like the route that he took them down, or the food that he fed them, or what he gave them to drink. On at least one occasion, they plotted to kill him.

In spite of his loneliness at the top, Moses demonstrated traits of a good leader. He was patient. The stubbornness of the people would have driven even the best man to drinking, but not Moses. He was focused on where he knew that God wanted him to take the people. He travelled in that direction even though the route was not the most pleasant one. He knew that God's way is always better. When they complained, he continued to lead. He was also compassionate. He knew that their rebellion would bring God's discipline — and it did, in the form of poisonous snakes — but he interceded to God on their behalf when they repented. Moses loved the people even when they were unlovable.

When God calls us to lead, let us do so with focus, compassion, obedience, and patience.

Prayer: Father, thank You for the privilege of leading. May we do it with unconditional love. Amen.

About the author:

Martin Wiles <mandmwiles@gmail.com>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

Send your feedback to the author

Forward This Devotional to your friends without subscribing them.

1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you – just what I needed to hear today. Yes it can be lonely but it is worth it

    Martin – How true. I have been led in directions that I complained about only to have received a blessing from having done what God had planned; a great lesson in patience and understanding the will of God. Thanks for writing.

    Thanks for sharing this Martin.
    I can relate. There will always be some dissension.
    But the Lord always carries us through for what is best for us and for His glory.
    God continue to bless your ministry.

    Great testimony Martin – keep following the Lord’s direction and you will never go wrong. Thanks, as always, for sharing your good insights.
    May the Lord continue to bless your ministry; may He use your gifts and leadership for His glory.

    Hi Martin,
    I know what you are talking about, many years ago I was promoted to be the controller of our European and Middle Eastern Offices. There were a lot of problems and I was sent to sort them out. It was a lonely job for sure.

    Hello Martin,
    I literally did a double take when I began reading your devotional. After a hiatus of two years from leadership I recently accepted an Executive Director’s position with a well-purposed but fractured organization.
    Thank you so much for being God’s instrument for me today. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver”. May God bless your heart today and every day.
    The words you are so encouraging and instructive.

    Dear Martin Wiles,
    This makes me want to ask, “What is the name of the organization?”
    But I think you would have said if you had wanted to tell.
    However I pray for you if you are either still in a leadership position in the same organization or are working elsewhere for our Lord’s sake.
    Do you think that having open meetings of the organization so that changes would be discussed by the organization, and not by just a few at the top, could have had better results. Maybe even a paper survey of opinions could have helped. Maybe it could help yet.
    I pray, God bless you as you do your work for Jesus’ sake.

    Thank you – just what I needed to hear today. Yes it can be lonely but it is worth it.

Switch to our mobile site