“This is not good!” Moses’ father-in-law exclaimed. “You’re going to wear yourself out—and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself.” Exodus 18:17-18 NLT
Father-in-laws can give some really good advice. In my case, he raised and reared the woman that’s the prized jewel of my life. In the Old Testament, Jethro gave his son-in-law, Moses some great insight.
Moses, a great leader of the nation of Israel, was getting overwhelmed with with the burdens of oversight. Leadership was becoming looming. Jethro discerned the dibiltating and potentially disasterous effect weighing heavily over Moses, his family and the people of Israel. He took initiative and imparted some wise insight to the nations struggling leader.
Moses was up early and down late. People were asking and Moses was answering. Every dispute . . . small or large was left to Moses. Jethro “saw all that Moses was doing for the people, and he asked, ‘What are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?’” (Ex 18:14 NLT). He was boring the proverbial candle at both ends.
The burden was too heavy to carry alone and Jethro knew how Moses could be blessed . . . and be a blessing to others.
Learn To Submit. Paul reminds the Christ-followers in Ephesus what following includes, “And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Eph 5:21 NLT). Jethro had some great suggestions . . . but, Moses had to choose to submit. True submission is not intimidation . . . but an invitation to yield. Jethro said, “If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.” (Ex18:23 ESV) True submission delegates power to deliver peace.
Learn To Surrender. Sometimes someone else has a better idea. Instead of fighting . . . we need to follow. In giving in or giving up, there may be a greater prize. Kahlil Gibran, author of The Prophet writes, “The joy of giving is its own reward.” Ramsey writes, “In love, we should give advice, even when that advice is tough. We should not be too quick to give advice without understanding a situation fully though.” The Book of Proverbs tells us, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.” (Prov19:20 ESV). Moses surrender his routine to Jethro’s recommendation.
Learn To Share. Jethro encouraged Moses to identify men of integrity who could share the load of leadership. He insightfully shares, “They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. “They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you.” (Ex18:22 NLT). In Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win, Willink and Babin write, “Leadership isn’t one person leading a team. It is a group of leaders working together, up and down the chain of command, to lead. If you are on your own, I don’t care how good you are, you won’t be able to handle it.” We are not created to be isolated or to act alone . . . we are created to surround ourselves with supporting brothers. Jesus had the twelve. Paul had Timothy. And, God gives us an example with the Trinitarian relationship. Share with those who will sharpen you and support you.
When we’re wearing ourselves out . . . it’s a good time to submit, to surrender and maybe share with those who care . . . and the One who cares most. Peter reminds us, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” (1 Pet 5:7 NLT)
Make a decision to listen and learn as you lead . . . it will be a defining moment.