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.”
We’ve all made Moses’ mistake… We have the best intentions for our church and so we position ourselves to have our fingerprints on everything. The gift of leading comes with the snare of arrogance. It’s tempting to take the burden of the journey on your own back and pull as hard and as long as you possibly can. And for a while, it works like a charm… Vision is crystalizing. Movement is happening. And God seems to be blessing everything.
Life is good. But then the crash inevitably comes… The leader is embittered by the pettiness of the people he’s leading. The people get frustrated with the bottleneck of information. All movement slows to a weary trudge. And everyone starts questioning their place.
Here’s what Moses (and we) forgot…
- Leaders lead…they don’t manage.
- Leaders dream…they don’t manage.
- Leaders blaze trails…they don’t manage.
- Leaders don’t manage…they surround themselves with managers.
If you’re completely worn out with leading, let Moses’ father-in-law’s advice save your ministry…
“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. 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. 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.”
Listen to God and take the lead but trust the managers God has put in your life. Do this, and everyone will be happier.
Check out the first three posts in this series on leadership…