Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. (Josh. 1:17)

“Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.” Martin Luther King’s wise words are freeing during times of leadership transition. Moving from one leader to another is daunting; if you’ve ever occupied a position recently vacated by a predecessor, you’re familiar with the questions that probably floated through Joshua’s mind. “Am I good enough?” “What if my hardest work yields only average returns?” “What if I never emerge from Moses’ shadow?”

Compounding this problem was the nature of Joshua’s predecessor. When the mantle fell to Joshua, it came from the shoulders of one of Israel’s most consequential figures. But like MLK’s words above, the Israelites offered words to ease the newly minted leader’s mind. The same Spirit that indwelled Moses would be upon him; and the same loyalty extended to Moses would accompany Joshua’s leadership.

When you’re in transition—big or small—the same Spirit who empowered Moses and Joshua is with you and has probably placed people around you who can affirm God’s movement in your heart. The question amidst the transition is: Whose voice will you listen to? And in whose power will you trust?

Write a quick thank-you note to people God has used in your transitions.

Ethan Linder is the college, young adult, and connections pastor at College Wesleyan Church in Marion, Indiana, where he resides with his wife and son. Ethan enjoys running, reading, and roasting coffee.

© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.