“Moses used to take the Tent and set it up outside the camp, some distance away. He called it the Tent of Meeting.
Anyone who sought God would go to the Tent of Meeting outside the camp. It went like this: When Moses would go to the Tent, all the people would stand at attention; each man would take his position at the entrance to his tent with his eyes on Moses until he entered the Tent; whenever Moses entered the Tent, the Pillar of Cloud descended to the entrance to the Tent and God spoke with Moses.
All the people would see the Pillar of Cloud at the entrance to the Tent, stand at attention, and then bow down in worship, each man at the entrance to his tent.
And God spoke with Moses face-to-face, as neighbors speak to one another.”
- The Exodus
There are places that feel holy because of their breathtaking beauty or their immensity. But there are others that are holy because we define them that way, set them aside, and honor them as a place where we encounter God.
In the Exodus, they tell about Moses and his “tent of meeting".
As a leader of his people, Moses was seeking time alone with God to receive his counsel and his direction. He did it in a very formal and visible way. Everyone knew why he was going into that tent and who he would be encountering there. Because he was communing with God on behalf of his people, there was a power and authority to that time in the tent.
This was a defined holy time in a holy place.
It was set apart from normal day to day activity. There was a reverence by everyone else in regard to his time as a leader, in that Tent of Meeting. And they not only stood at attention, they stood at the ready. They were guarding, protecting, and honoring his time there.
Time “away” and time “with” are essential for all of us. In this blog, we regularly encourage you to set aside your own tent of meetings.
We’ve encouraged you to…
- ...establish an “ideal” week where all the necessities of your leadership are appropriated
- ...grow and protect your essential time away from work
- ...build a meeting structure with particular people, in a regular rhythm, and following a ritual for how you engage
The thing we have learned is that when you…
- ...honor these meetings on your work schedule
- ...honor the free, focus, and buffer time in your personal schedule
- ...guard them and give them your full attention
…everyone else will as well.
But most importantly, if you make it the place where you encounter the goodness, intentions, and will of God; these blocked times in your schedule and the times you meet as a team become powerful and holy.
If your time alone and away produces clarity, confidence, and a way of operating/thinking that aligns with God (what is good and right), people will start to encourage and support you getting that time away. If others in your organization start to see real and meaningful change come out of your leadership meetings, they will not be threatened, but encouraged by the gathering.
If we learn from Moses and his Tent of Meeting, we can bring a priority and power to quiet times, free days, leadership meetings, and focus times where we are not reachable by phone or e-mail. The necessary ingredients of this powerful practice are…
- Setting aside a special time
- Going to a special designated place
- Protecting and honoring that time
- Inviting the presence of God there
Ironically, as the senior leaders or owners of your companies, you are the only ones with the real power to establish these practices and the only ones will the real power to shut them down. Finding the Tents of Meeting in your life, may be the most powerful single thing you do as a leader.
- Do you feel like you have established Tents of Meeting in your life?
- Do you have a daily protected time with God? Do you get away to walk, hike, or just quietly spend time wrestling with him on the biggest challenges you are facing?
- Do you regularly set aside time with your leadership team for regular meetings or quarterly/annual offsites? Are you making similar room for you and your spouse to do the same?
- What needs to change in your ideal week (personal) or in the priority of meeting structure in your work?