I was blessed to have had the opportunity to be raised by someone who participated in the Civil Rights Movement. My uncle, Mr. Bob Gore, who is much like a father to me, marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others during the 1960’s. I continue to be amazed by the heroic and unprecedented sacrifices made by both the leaders and the participants of the Civil Rights Movement. To my surprise, Mr. uncle informed me that many African-Americans and white Americans did not participate in “The Movement.” Some people were resistant to Dr. King’s leadership because they were concerned about their employment or their physical well-being (e.g., it was possible to become injured or killed while marching). Like the Hebrews in Moses’ day, people “grumbled” against Dr. King (see Exodus 16:2). Nevertheless, Dr. King, additional leaders of the Movement and many followers stayed the course. The criticisms of white clergy (see Dr. King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail”) , the threats and acts of violence, the loss of income and the ostracization by family members or friends did not dissuade them from their mission. The leaders often heard the “grumblings” of the people; however, they held on to their purpose. My uncle’s commitment to assisting African-Americans in the process of attaining our Civil Rights would prove to be instrumental in my character development and sense of political consciousness. I am eternally grateful for his involvement in my life.
Leadership is a challenging phenomenon. Undoubtedly, leaders are essential for the cohesion of society. People need leaders, and in the absence of ethical and visionary leadership, the historical record throughout the world has proven that people will following myopic, ineffective, unethical and seemingly incompetent leaders. Moses and his brother Aaron were competent, ethical, divinely-inspired and visionary leaders; however, the people often “grumbled” against them. At one point, the Hebrews criticized Moses, and wished that he had not freed from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 13:3). Moses listened, but depersonalized their grumblings. Essentially, he said: “You are not grumbling against me, but against the Lord (Exodus 16:8).” Moses loved the people and cared for the people in spite of their grumblings. Moses prayed to the Lord during his challenging, leadership experiences, and the Lord provided the people with manna, which is bread from heaven (Exodus 16:15).”
If God has appointed you as a leader at you job, in your home, at your church or in your civic or social organization, I want to encourage you to continue to be an ethical, visionary, competent and divinely inspired leader. Stay the course, even when you hear the grumblings of the people, and watch the Lord provide resources (also known as manna) for you.