Moses' Buden

A friend wrote me and shared a dream.  She said, "I want to ask your opinion about this dream I had. LegalShield was hosting a picnic/meeting for the Leadership. Everyone was mingling and enjoying themselves. At some point, I stepped away and when I returned everyone was seated and discussing a document. As I’m looking around for a copy for myself you stop me mid search, and say ‘Fatima, I want you to stop carrying Moses’ burden.’ I thought to myself what does that have to do with the price of tea in China and I kept looking for the documents.

I just remembered my dream and googled ‘what was Moses’ burden?’ I researched a Jewish interpretation but I was also wondering as a Christian, what is your interpretation of Moses’ burden?"

And what I wrote her follows:

I believe that Moses is the greatest leader of human beings in this history of Western civilization.  Before I had read the entire old testament, I learned about Moses from reading Niccolò Machiavelli, who tells us in the Discourses that Moses was "a sheer executor of the things ordained by God," which might appear to diminish his greatness as a leader. But no, others knew what God wanted of them, but fell short, while Moses must be revered for "that grace that made him worthy of speaking with God."  Many are called, but few are able to respond.  Moreover, Moses is the highest example of the most successful kind of leader: a visionary who is willing and able to use force to accomplish His mission. Machiavelli has little time for martyrs; he wants winners, and he knows, in the words of one of his most famous phrases, that "all the armed prophets won, the disarmed went to their ruin." Moses was the greatest of the armed prophets.

For me the insight stands in opposition to Jesus, who was a martyr as a leader.  Moses was willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish God’s mission for him.

So what do I think of Moses’ burden? Leaders cannot lead for their own happiness.  They cannot lead for adulation and adoration. They cannot lead for self-aggrandizement and enrichment. A leader cannot have friends, at least not as the leader. While this seems harsh, let us remember just as Moses had led his people to the border of the Promised Land, but faced with a bloody war to drive out those inhabiting it, a vast revolt followed against Moses – it spread to every tribe and involved the most powerful and distinguished leaders as well as members of the priestly hierarchy, even his older brother Aaron.

Ingratitude, Machiavelli ruefully observes, is the daughter of Greed and Suspicion, nursed in the arms of Envy, and it has been an essential part of human nature ever since Adam and Eve ungratefully at of the forbidden fruit and departed Eden.

While this may seem sad or depressing, it is in fact the exact opposite. Whether Jewish or Christian or Muslim, the lesson for me is the same.

I serve at God’s direction alone and pursue His mission.  I know that burden, and it is Moses’ burden. I am never alone because He is with me. I am thankful with progress towards His mission but understand that this journey will include ingratitude, greed, suspicion and envy, vitriol and spite.  I will suffer “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” to quote Hamlet but I will not be deterred. Yes, I may falter, and indeed fall, but I am a relentless force of His hand. His “will be done.” Amen and amen.

I thanked my friend for asking. I truly believe the dream was inspired by God, and I was blessed with her question. 

This is why I say,

I serve


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