“So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, ‘The thing that you do is not good. Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself.’ ” Exodus 18:17-18
I’ve observed that when it comes to leadership that there are two pits that leaders are commonly in danger of falling into. The first, and most common one, is the pit of trying to do too much all by yourself. The second pit is the pit of doing nothing yourself but instead delegating everything to someone else.
This second pit is less common but is still very dangerous because in this pit the leader essentially abdicates any real responsibility and authority he or she may have and gives it to others and becomes a meaningless figurehead. In this scenario the people looking to the leader are robbed of the leadership they could have been given.
Moses appears to be a leader prone to being in danger of being caught in the first pit. Nothing is delegated to another. He carries the entire weight of leadership by himself.
When Jethro, Moses father-in-law, saw this he strongly counseled Moses that this was not good and that if he continued in this way that he would wear himself out and he would wear the people out as well. Then he advised him to choose “able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” These men would hear and judge the small cases and if anything was too much for them then it was brought to Moses and he would judge only those cases.
Moses followed Jethro’s counsel and both he and the people were blessed.
Leaders would do well to follow this same course. It ensures that the leadership the people rely on you for remains in place and your meaningful contribution continues to be made while at the same time lightening your load as you share it with others.
An additional advantage is that this second plan gives opportunity for people to gain experience that prepares them for future responsibility. Eventually we all need to be pass the reins of leadership to someone else it’s always better if they’re actually prepared to take them.
God hasn’t called any of us to work alone. Whether in the home, the church, or business, God’s plan is that each person only carry a reasonable portion of the load. If this pattern is followed everyone is better served.