Numbers 11:24-30 (NRSV)
24So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent. 25Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again. 26Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. 27And a young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp." 28And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, "My lord Moses, stop them!" 29But Moses said to him, "Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!" 30And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.
Sometimes leaders can become overwhelmed. As I write this in April, many leaders—the president, governors, business owners, health care administrators, food pantry and homeless shelter organizers, pastors and congregation councils, teachers and school administrators, parents and guardians—face daunting challenges of leadership during the coronavirus pandemic.
Moses faced a challenge as he led freed slaves through the wilderness. They moaned and groaned that they had it better in Egypt. Moses complained to God, “I am not able to carry all this people alone, for they are too heavy for me” (Num. 11:14). Leaders facing the pandemic may feel a similar heavy burden.
God directed Moses to share leadership, to call on others to help carry the burden. The spirit of Moses was extended to others, even to some who had not followed directions! God surprises us in the midst of challenges by empowering others to share our burdens, even in ways we don’t expect.
Listening God, hear us when in despair and anxiety we cry for help. Surround us with those on whom your Spirit rests to share our burdens and provide hope today. Amen.