If you’re in leadership, you’ve probably spent at least some time dealing with what it takes to run through the finish line instead of simply stumbling our way to the end. However, the answer obviously isn’t just about you.
The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. 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?”
Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”
Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”
Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves (Exodus 18:13-26, NIV).
• What’s the big idea Jethro (Moses’ father-in-law) is recommending here? How does his advice help everyone involved?
• What smaller tasks does he ask Moses to do, so the big idea here can become a reality?
• If Jethro were to come up and make these suggestions about your current commitments, what would he bring up—and how do you think you’d react?
Letting go and sharing the load is good advice, and good practice. In fact, it’s probably the only way those you serve, and serve with, will ever grow. It’s often easier said than done, but it’s where we need to get to if we expect God’s work to grow. God’s work has to become bigger than us.
What can we prepare to let go of? Who can we begin handing responsibilities to, and how can we prepare them to take what we give them and run with it?
Let’s do a little exercise. Think of all the commitments you’re responsible for in a given week. Take two minutes to list as many of them as you can.
Now, look at your paper again. Which of these responsibilities could you hand off? Be honest. What could you let go of? What could someone else do just as easily as, if not better than, you? Put a check mark next to those items.
Look at your list one more time. Focus on the your check marks. Who are the people who represent those check marks? Take another minute to write their names next to your check marks.
Now, take your list and roll it up, so you have one long tube, and then tape it. Take your tube, stand in it the palm of your hand, and try balancing it as you walk around. Now, think about this:
• How was the balancing act you just did like your ministry—or your life—right now?
• How does sharing responsibilities help you get back into balance?
• What’s the biggest challenge you face right now in handing things off? How can we make that handoff something we can actually be joyful about?
“Trust His tenaciousness, count on His invincibility. Look to Him, and in His time and His way, He will finish the work.”—Watchman Nee, Changed Into His Likeness
Hold your batons one more time, and take the time to pray over it. Ask God for the wisdom to know what to hand off, and how and when to do it. Pray that God will give you confidence and trust in those yougive responsibility to, and that you’ll see the fruits of that trust—as you see others growing out.