The Jews revere Moses as one of their greatest leaders ever. The Bible recounts how he led the Israelites out of captivity and slavery in Egypt. He was a leader who sacrificed his own interests for an ungrateful group of people. What helped Moses to last up to 40 years in the wilderness with followers who spent most of their time complaining about him, undermining him, and conspiring against him?
It was his humility or meekness. This character trait can be defined as the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance. It is recorded in the Bible that “Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3, NIV). Some other Biblical translations use the word ‘meek’ instead of humble. Though Moses was regarded as the meekest man alive in his time; this didn’t mean he was a weak man. Meekness is not the same as weakness. Humility or meekness could also be defined as strength under control. A great synonym for humble or meek is ‘long-suffering’ which Moses had to be in his dealings with his followers.
Even God acknowledged that Moses led an unruly group of people who were very stubborn. He was prepared to kill them all and start a new generation of Israelites through Moses’ lineage. Moses however pleaded for the lives of the same people who would eventually cost him the opportunity to enter the Promised Land (Canaan). He never held this against them and he kept praying for them to the very end.
Humility or meekness is a quality which every leader should aspire to develop. It is almost inevitable that in your leadership journey that you will deal with people who will push your buttons and test your limits. It is your strength under control that will determine if you snap and break or succeed.