Leaders benefit when things are going well; when what they have implemented actually works. But leaders are scrutinized when their vision looks too hard or too risky. And sometimes, the leader begins to follow his or her followers when the pressure becomes too thick. But it takes courage to press forward. Courage is all about steadying your heart.
I learned this lesson from Caleb in the the book of Numbers 13. It was great that Moses sent the 12 tribal leaders to check out the Promised land of Canaan. It was wonderful that they returned with the evidence of its abundance–huge pomegranates, figs, and a branch that overflowed with a cluster of grapes that two men had to carry!
It was a no-brainer that everyone would trample over everything to get back to a place flowing with milk and honey, especially after being stuck in a wilderness and subjected to generational slavery.
But no one wanted to go back to Canaan. Why? Because there were strong, mighty “giants” who lived there. People of great stature who looked wealthy, distinguished, and bigger than life. And the walls were high. And from corner to corner, there were all sorts of intimidating, extravagant things–things that made Canaan truly abundant. But things that also made Canaan all of sudden look unattainable.
Caleb had the courage to speak up about the bad report (the same report that left grown men and women crying out through the night and begging to go back to slavery). And though no one wanted to follow Caleb back to Canaan, he had the courage to get there. The courage to believe that it was possible because it was promised. The courage to wait until God removed those same naysayers. And 40 years later, there was Caleb living in beautiful Canaan.
As a leader, you have the vision. And you must have the courage also, even as you face people who are afraid to move forward.