Summary: This is the tenth message in a series over the life of Moses that shows being God's man is never easy. This examines how leaders can easily become overloaded.
Dave Stone in His book, “Keeping Your Head Above Water” provides the following insight into leadership overload. “It is possible to spread yourself so thin that within the church you are mediocre in four or five areas instead of excellent in one or two.” This is a common plight for the Christian leader, we are called to accomplish a task that is never done and we are in constant danger of allowing ourselves to become overloaded if we are not careful. The two greatest pitfalls for leaders are the failure to delegate and the failure to prioritize. These pitfalls can cause us to become so distracted that we will not be able to keep focused on our main tasks. If we allow ourselves to fall into these pitfalls we will find ourselves quickly becoming overloaded, frustrated and discouraged. However, this problem is not a new one, in our text we discover that it was something that Moses struggled with. Moses found himself beginning to bend under the weight of all the demands of leading God’s people. In fact he was going from sun up to sun down seven days a week. This grueling pace was destroying him but God provided a solution to his problem through some helpful advice from his father-in-law Jethro. Today, we are going to dive into this text and discover God’s solution for an age old leadership problem.
I. An unexpected but timely visit from the in-laws.
A. The unexpected family reunion undoubtedly was refreshing for Moses.
1. Everything begins to come full circle as the Hebrew people arrive at Sinai. This was the sign that the Lord had promised to Moses in the very beginning.
2. Some time shortly after the circumcision fiasco in Exodus 4, Moses had sent Zipporah and his two sons back to live with Jethro.
3. The reports of all that God had done for his people had reached Jethro and this sets the stage for a family reunion as he leaves Midian to meet Moses with Zipporah and his two grandsons.
4. Moses seems to be pleased by the news that Jethro and his family is coming and so he goes out to meet them.
B. Moses and Jethro rejoice over the greatness and goodness of God.
1. Moses sits down with Jethro and begins to tell the story of everything that God had done for the Hebrew people up to this point.
2. Jethro was so excited over everything that God had done for His people that he literally burst out in praise of Yahweh.
3. Many casual readers miss the fact that Moses filling Jethro in on all that God had done leads him to complete faith in God as is evident by the statement of faith that Jethro makes.
4. This was a big deal because in confessing complete faith in Yahweh, Jethro abandons the religion that he grew up with and had led for many years.
5. The reunion concludes with Jethro inviting Aaron, Moses and the other leaders of the people to sit down to share in a sacrificial meal together before God.
II. Some very insightful observations in regard to Moses.
A. Evaluating Moses’ daily routine.
1. Moses would spend his time from sun up to sun down hearing the disputes of the people and seeking God’s will for their settlement.
2. The people would simply wait in line until their turn and Moses would hear case after case.
3. Jethro immediately made two observations: the people are going to wear themselves out and Moses was not capable of shouldering such a large task on his own.
4. Jethro questions Moses about what he does because he is trying to see the logic in it.
a. Jethro questions Moses about priorities. “Why are you doing what you are doing?”
b. Jethro questions Moses about the other leaders. “Why are you the only one doing this?”
5. As Jethro begins to get a good handle on the situation, he is able to present Moses with some logical alternatives to make things run much more smoothly.
B. Jethro’s wise counsel to his son in-law.
1. Continue to represent the people before God but also work to teach them God’s ways and laws which would enable him to lead the people better as a group.
2. Delegate some of the workload to other competent individuals. These individuals should be able to deal with the smaller issues allowing Moses to focus on the priorities.
3. The individuals that Moses would choose to delegate part of the workload to would be thoroughly trained to handle the many different situations.
4. Moses takes the advice of his father-in-law to heart and better yet the Lord approved of the wisdom that Jethro had imparted to Moses.
5. This brings Jethro’s visit to an end and he decides to return to Midian. However, the text leaves the impression that Moses’ wife and sons stay with Moses.