Summary: I need to be careful as to who I allow to speak into my life. You can’t just seek to please all the people all the time, but Moses didn’t shy away from Jethro’s counsel.
Exodus 18 - Who do I allow to speak into my life?
Every leader needs help. No leader is truly a leader without teammates. Moses was good but not that good. He had great insight because he had sense enough to seek God. Jethro was also a good leader. He saw straight away what the problem was. Moses was wearing himself out trying to judge disputes all day. He wasn’t only wearing himself out but all the people who waited in line day by day to see him.
Exodus 18 is where Moses is trying to judge disputes alone. Jethro, Moses father-in-law counsels Moses to organize the tribes of Israel with leaders who can judge the minor disputes while he judges the major ones. This delegation of authority works well.
Sometimes I am too close to a situation to see that I could be doing something more effectively. I need the help of those who can look with fresh eyes and help me identify my mistakes. He wasn’t doing anything wrong but he was doing things inefficiently. His priorities were not clear. He was not balancing his time effectively.
Every leader goes through this at some time. All I need is someone to come and look at what I am doing, and counsel me as to how it can be done better. Now that doesn’t mean I can spend all day listening to people’s opinions as to how I use my time. I need to be careful as to who I allow to speak into my life. You can’t just seek to please all the people all the time, but Moses didn’t shy away from Jethro’s counsel.
I like the way Jethro handled giving advice to Moses. He encouraged Moses to seek the Lord and then act, not just take his counsel for granted. Jethro respected that God had called Moses to lead. He gave his counsel, knowing that it was important for Moses to evaluate that counsel in prayer.
Every leader receives advice from people who are genuinely trying to be helpful. Not all of it is good. And no leader can operate effectively by taking a vote every time they need to make a decision. I try to listen to a few people I have come to trust and then go to God in prayer before acting upon their counsel.
The leaders had been there all along, with the gifting, motivation, abilities and the character needed to get the job done. All they needed was the opportunity to put it into action and gain experience. Moses selected capable men, trained them, released them and then just as importantly, he didn’t micro-manage them. He did only what they could not do.
Recently we had 40 Days of Community. During that time one fifth of the Church were involved in active leadership. I could not have done what they managed to do. We worked well as a team. Each of us knew the scope of our responsibilities and as we prayed and worked together, things were done efficiently and effectively. People used their gifts and grew in leadership.
Soon we will be seeking God for new Church leaders and already we have seen men and women using their gifts effectively. I have no doubt that this gives us a better handle on who should be chosen to lead our Church into the future.