Moses listened to his father-in-law’s advice and followed his suggestions. He chose capable men from all over Israel and appointed them as leaders over the people. He put them in charge of groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten.
Exodus 18:24-25 NLT
Moses’ father in law, Jethro, paid him a visit in the desert and was thrilled to hear about the amazing way in which God had brought the Israelites out of Egypt. But he was not so thrilled when he saw the way in which Moses handled disputes. From morning till evening Moses would listen to the people’s problems and give them a ruling from God. It was all very impressive, but Jethro could see that it was unsustainable. He suggested that Moses was going to wear himself out, and the people too! He needed to change, and Jethro encouraged him to recruit other people to consider the simpler cases and to retain for himself only the more difficult ones. It was a straightforward recommendation and Moses was happy to take his father in law’s advice.
Every leader needs to learn the skill of delegation. Without it, they wear themselves out, as Jethro predicted. In the life of the church, delegation is particularly important because God has deliberately given gifts to his church to enable its work to be done. If one person hugs all the tasks to themselves the church will never grow. Every leader needs to be continually looking for others who can share the responsibilities, knowing that, as they take on these tasks, they will grow and the work of the church will be extended. Effective delegation relies on the leader seeing their responsibility to train and encourage those to whom roles are delegated. When a leader off-loads a job on to another person and walks away it is called abdication, and that’s precisely what mustn’t happen. Such an experience makes people quickly become demoralised and give up.
Thank God for Jethro’s wise advice and for the blessing of loving and thoughtful delegation.
What do you need to learn about wise delegation?
Thank you, loving Lord, for those who give me wise advice. Help me to listen to it and turn it into action. Amen