What a man! What an elder! Who can read the story of Moses without being deeply moved by his love and devotion to the great congregation that was his? What an encouragement it is to leaders of God's Church today. Within Moses 1 flock were all sorts of people: unappreciative, critical, faithless, but like the Chief Shepherd, he loved them with a love that never failed.
At Kadesh-barnea, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, emulating Lucifer before the God of creation, accused Moses and Aaron of assuming too much authority. Moses reasoned with them openly and frankly and then gave them until the next day to think it over and to pray about it. But the sore festered and they became only more determined in their ways. Because of this and for the good of the people, drastic measures became necessary.
Through their supernatural deaths, it became evident that they had been fighting against God. It would seem that the leadership role of Moses would now be forever fully justified in the eyes of the congregation. Instead, "The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 'You have killed the Lord's people,' they said" (Numbers 16:41). Then God called Moses and Aaron, saying, "Get away from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once" (Numbers 16:45). But Moses would not resign his people to such a fate. His love for them and the cause they represented was much more meaningful to him than any personal abuse. Allowing no time for reflecting on his own hurt, he had Aaron take the censor "to make atonement for them" (Numbers 16:46). Already 14,700 had died of the plague, but through the forgiving, compassionate intervention of Moses and his brother "the plague stopped."
The greatest evidence of true, dedicated leadership on the part of an elder is perhaps willingness to carry on loving ministry in behalf of the people when he is misunderstood, his true motives questioned, and his work seemingly unappreciated. How many elders through the years have desired to leave their responsibility to others or become discouraged and quit because of thoughtless, over-talkative or even conniving souls whom Satan has used to hinder rather than help. But this need not be. Read again the account of Moses or Paul and, above all, that of Jesus Christ. Having done this, what else can we do but carry on in the same self-sacrificing, forgiving spirit, trusting in the grace of Christ.