What brings leaders to the point of task overload?
Our Scripture reading comes from Exodus 18:14, quoting from the New King James Version:
“So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, ‘What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?’”
Jethro’s question commands a response. Think on it. Moses, whose face glowed because of his close presence to God, is being told, “The thing that you are doing is not good” (see Exodus 18:17). That is the last thing a leader wants to hear, especially one who had just led over a million people from slavery to freedom! Read the entire account. Moses was painstakingly judging disputes “between a man and his neighbor” (see Exodus 18:16) 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 when his father-in-law asks this striking query.
What brings leaders to the point of task overload—the belief that only we know what’s best, perhaps distrust of others, or possibly personal ownership? Moses’ knowledge or wisdom was to be for the good of the entire people—not just for individual cases. The dispensing of judgments should not have come at the expense of his health or of exhaustion. Reading Exodus 18:14-26 helps put a few thoughts in order. The passage provokes a pause, an examination, and a reordering of priorities.
How are you doing in your pursuit to invite others with similar heart and vision into your area of responsibility? It has been stated: “We must exercise wisdom and discernment and desire God’s model” to meet the task at hand. Sometimes ours 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 live out God’s model for a shared burden of leadership.
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 so admire Moses’ humility and respect for his father-in-law, and I love the spirit of Jethro’s counsel: “I will give you counsel and God will be with you.”
Points to Ponder
Over the next week, here are 3 points to ponder during your personal time of reflection or with a small group or mentor.
- First, Leadership recognizes needs and addresses them through the skills and talents of like minded people.
- Second, Search for and desire God’s response to fulfilling needs. Ask God to bring people in your life, such as a Jethro, who have your best interest in mind.
- Third, Humbly receive God’s guidance.