Books on the soul are always a little bit hard for me to get through. Though I often mock 21 laws to this, 7 steps to that and 4 secrets for success in your field, I love the simplicity of the thought that there really are 21 laws, 7 steps or 4 secrets.
That said I really did enjoy the book and think it is a great read for anyone who has been in Christian leadership for 10+ years.
Ruth Haley Barton, takes the life of Moses and walks us through his leadership and walk with God. She does a great job of pulling out principles without stretching the story as told in Scripture. On a side note, I was told by a counselor that he had come up with the concepts in her book a long time ago but she had been able to market them better. 😉
At the end of leading people for 40 years Moses is not able to enter into the promise land. I have often that that seemed like a huge punishment for what seemed to be a small sin. Barton speaks to that in a way that made sense and also challenged me in my own life.
This part of Moses’ story does speak to the fact that when you choose the spiritual life the stakes get higher and higher. Behavior and attitudes that were good enough last year may not be good enough this year. A level of integrity that was good enough for one level of spiritual leadership disappoints others and yourself as you move into greater responsibility. There is a peace on this path and very deep rewards, but there is an even greater need to live authentically and more given over to grace. The more spiritual the destination the greater the the importance of our character and utter responsiveness to God in the journey is.
He no longer needed any role or responsibility or task to define him….And this is what I have come to see most clearly in the life of Moses: for Moses the presence of God was the Promised Land. Next to that, everything else had already paled in significance.