Thesis: It is wise to share the work of God with as many people as possible.
1. "Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways, and be wise" (Prov. 6:6).
a. In your typical, garden-variety ANT COLONY, there are basically three different types of ants:
1) QUEEN: lays eggs; insures future of ant colony.
2) MALES: fertilize eggs; do little else!--still essential.
3) WORKERS: Food-finders; Nest-carers; Nurses; Cow-keepers.
b. Each does job suited to; ant colonies thrive!
1) Ants are wise! Organized! Divide their work!
2) Each has a function to perform and performs it well.
2. When people function in the same way, they can be just as productive!
a. It's a thing of beauty: Different people performing different tasks; each doing the job they are best-suited to perform; coordinated effort toward a common goal!
b. Tonight: See the importance of that kind of effort for God's people (Exodus 18).
1) Period after leaving Egypt and before Mt. Sinai.
2) Read verses 1-12.
3) Jethro soon sees a problem regarding Moses' leadership style.
I. THE NATURE OF MOSES' PROBLEM (13-18).
A. Moses thought he was indispensable!
1. Pitfall of leadership: unless I do it, it won't be done!
2. Moses had a keen sense of responsibility, but it expressed itself in total control--Moses had his finger on everthing that moved!
a. Common view of leaders.
b. Common expectation of leaders.
B. Moses' leadership style was wrong for three (3) reasons:
1. Moses was doing himself and his family wrong.
a. Moses was burning himself out!
1) "Morning until evening" (13).
2) "You will surely wear out" (18a).
b. Moses was neglecting his family.
1) He had already sent them to Jethro (18:2).
2) Now Jethro was bringing them back to camp (18:5-6).
2. Moses was doing the people of God a disservice.
a. Not only wearing himself out, also people! (18)
b. Anything that moved had to go through Moses.
c. This stifles initiative and breeds resentment.
3. Moses was cheating those who may have been able to serve.
a. The abilities of others were lying dormant.
b. Israel was not benefiting from what others had to offer.
II. THE WISDOM OF JETHRO'S SOLUTION (19-27).
A. It called for shared responsibility.
1. Moses got some relief (not tired, time for family).
2. People receive attention they deserve.
3. Leaders would emerge and be given valuable experience.
a. Delegation allows for greater involvement ("They will share it with you" (22).
b. Likely Joshua & Caleb among those selected (Num. 13 shows they were already leaders when selected to spy.)
4. Sharing responsibility allowed Moses to do what he did best.
a. Apostles realized their role in Acts 6 crisis.
b. Leaders MUST distinguish between urgent and important.
B. It called for responsibility to be given to qualified people (21).
1. Special qualifications:
a. Capable .................. having ability.
b. Fear God ................ spiritual.
c. Trustworthy ............ honest, integrity.
d. Hate dishonest gain ... not driven by money.
2. Responsibility should not be shared with just anybody--that's why there's qualifications (cf. 1 Tim. 3).
C. It called for freedom and support of those chosen (22).
1. "Let them judge the people," Jethro said.
a. Responsibility given and authority to make decisions.
b. Responsibility without authority = frustration.
2. Men chosen and supported--help available if they needed it.
a. Hard decisions could be brought to Moses.
b. Easier decisions made without Moses second-guessing.
D. It called for the blessing of God (23).
1. Possible to make great plans and programs and forget God!
2. Must constantly be sensitive to the will of God.
1. Moses exhibited the qualities of a great leader:
a. A good leader will consider his limitations.
b. A good leader will take advice and use it.
c. A good leader realizes some work is more important than others.
d. A good leader will still have plenty to do, even after work has been shared!