“When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, ‘What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?'” (Exodus 18:14)
As a leader, Jethro’s question commands my attention as it must have also grabbed Moses’ attention. Think of it. Moses, whose face glowed because of his close presence to God, is being told, “What you are doing is not good” (verse 17). That’s the last thing a leader wants to hear, especially one who had just led over a million people from slavery to freedom!
Read the whole story. Moses was painstakingly judging disputes and individually explaining the ordinances of God. Talking about being in the weeds! Moses, Israel’s new national leader, was in the weeds trying to fix disputes over who-knows-what.
What brings us to the point of task overload: the belief that only I know what’s best, perhaps distrust of others, or possibly personal ownership? Moses’ knowledge was best for the entire people–not just for individual cases–and should certainly be imparted without wearing himself out.
Reading Exodus 18:14-26 helps me put a few thoughts in order. I so admire Moses’ humility and respect for his father-in-law (verse 24)! Here are some other thoughts that I’m taking from this passage of Scripture:
Leadership recognizes needs and addresses them through the skills and talents of likeminded people.
Search for, and desire, God’s response to fulfilling needs. Ask God to bring people in your life, such as Jethro, who have your best interests in mind.
Humbly receive God’s guidance.
Are you involving others with similar godly spirit and vision (verse 21) in your area of responsibility? Sometimes our role is to help others understand their spiritual gift and put it to use. Begin to take notice of those with similar conviction and compassion who are able to meet God’s model.
There is another leadership quality we can take away from our review of Jethro’s counsel. Jethro explained his rationale to Moses. Leaders mentor when they take time to explain their decisions. I love the spirit of Jethro’s counsel: “I will give you some advice, and may God be with you” (verse 19).