“. . . Because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land and his descendants will inherit it” (Numbers 14:24).
Great Leaders are Humble
One of the most overlooked leaders in the Bible is, without a doubt, Caleb. Notice, first of all, that God called Caleb, “my servant.” Servants are usually humble people who understand their place and do their best to fulfill their obligations to their masters. It is remarkable that God describes Caleb as servant. Because of what we know about Caleb, we must conclude that he was an ambitious leader, a conqueror. Ambitious people are generally not servants. In fact, they are quite the opposite. They are usually looking at how to climb the corporate ladder. Their eyes are generally fixed on positions of authority. The fact that God used the word servant clearly shows that Caleb managed to achieve balance. It proves that through his journey he never lost sight of his true position and his obligations to his Master.
Throughout the entire Bible we find that God loves this quality in leaders He calls. Look at the following verses:
The humble will see their God at work and be glad (Psalm 69:32).
Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud (Psalm 138:6).
The Lord supports the humble, but he brings the wicked down into the dust (Psalm 147:6).
God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble (James 4:6).
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honor you (1 Peter 5:6).
It was Martin Luther who said, “God made the world from nothing and as long as we are nothing He can do something with us or through us”.
Great Leaders are Different
The second quality that excited God about Caleb was his courage, his spirit, his attitude: “My servant Caleb is different from the others.” God has always called His people to be different and leaders are definitely not the exception. But it takes great courage to be different in a world that rewards conformity. Leaders are always reminded that there is a cost for being different. Joseph was sold into slavery; Daniel was thrown into a lions’ den; John the Baptist was beheaded for being different; Jesus was nailed to a cross for being different, and Caleb was threatened with stoning because he dared to stand in opposition to the negative report that the other 10 spies brought back.
From Caleb’s experience we learn that leaders with a different spirit talk different. When the ten spies gave their report it was all negative. Pay attention to their words: these people are powerful; we seemed as grasshoppers compared to them; there are giants in the land and the land devours people. Caleb on the other hand, reported only the great opportunities that land offered: We are going to eat them as bread, God is with us, the land is good, and they do not have God. Now we understand why God says that Caleb had a different spirit.
Great Leaders are Loyal
The third quality that excited God and motivated Him about Caleb and his leadership was Caleb’s loyalty. In Numbers 14:24, God says, “But my servant Caleb has remained loyal to me.” In that verse, it is natural to pay attention to the word “loyal”. But in today’s world the word “remained” is equally important. Being loyal sometimes is easy. Remaining loyal is not. Loyalty in leadership appears to be at an all time low and the most ludicrous arguments are made to justify the lack of character and loyalty today.
For Caleb, the fortified cities, the giants, or the difficulties faced in the journey did not represent a test of loyalty. The real test came when his own colleagues started talking about stoning him. It was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” As a leader, your loyalty will be tested but it will be at times of challenge. Caleb remained loyal to the Lord and won God’s favor.
Great Leaders Finish The Race Well
Instead of fading away, Caleb’s life was an example of how leaders must end their race. He finished strong, with dignity, integrity, honor, and respect. At the age of 85 he went to Joshua, his ministry partner, and reminded him of the promise Moses had made to him. Great leaders finish their race strong. What else could be expected from a leader whom God described as humble, different, and loyal?
—Benjamin Feliz, Presbyter Mexico, Central America, and Spanish-speaking Caribbean