Moses’ father-in-law Jethro couldn’t believe the long queues of complainants when he visited the wilderness camp. It was such a huge camp to begin with – in excess of two million people. The only judge to resolve extremely serious or incredibly petty disputes was Moses himself.

“Elizaphan, you’ve been standing in this line-up for hours. What’s your issue?”

“We took a maroon colored jar with us filled with family valuables. It had handles on it and it was great for travelling. It’s been missing for three days and just yesterday I noticed in my neighbor’s tent a jar that looked suspiciously like ours. I am sure Alonzo just altered the appearance by painting yellow stripes on it. But he claims it’s their family heirloom.  I don’t believe it for a minute. So I have been standing in this line since early this morning, waiting to tell Moses my problem. I’ll take his advice.”

It occurred to Jethro that Moses could not continue with this grueling pace day after day. He’d be worn out in no time. After all, dealing with ‘people’ issues is emotionally draining – far too much for one man he felt.

Jethro looked around and concluded: “Surely among so many people there must be some who have a bit of common-sense and some God-given wisdom to handle at least the smaller complaints. A triage system for disputes would work in this camp. The tough matters can still be bumped up the line to Moses.  But he really needs to focus on the bigger issues and the big picture.”

Jethro didn’t work for a management consulting firm but emerging in his mind was a clear division of labor and an organization chart to manage effectively and efficiently such a large wilderness operation. Here’s the executive summary of his report to Moses:

Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 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.” So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. Exodus 18:17-24 ESV

Jethro could only see a win:win situation if Moses took his advice.

It’s not the point of this Bible Bite to pass judgment on Moses’ wisdom in implementing the recommendations of Jethro ConsultingOthers can debate whether God could have used Jethro to give the message to Moses or whether Moses should have taken his burden to the Lord and waited for God’s direct word.

But here’s the question: do you prefer to do everything yourself rather than delegate tasks? If we can’t use Jethro’s example – will you consider the teaching of the New Testament?

Do you overlook latent potential and assume you, yourself, can do the job best – even if it is a heavy burden at times? Do you complain about all the work you have to do but yet, you refuse to develop others who have ability – perhaps more ability than you have yourself? Or perhaps, like Moses, you are innocent and your motives are entirely honourable.

As of today, your innocence is gone. It is now being brought to your attention that, scripturally, God’s desire and design is that responsibilities need to be shared and gift must be developed. The wealth of latent potential within others must be tapped and profitably used for God’s glory.

Every believer has been equipped by the Lord. Not one is destitute of some kind of ability. God is not happy when He sees abilities He has distributed to His people, not being tapped or utilized to their maximum potential. Don’t be an obstacle to the development of others by insisting that you are the most qualified person to do it.

In fact, it is one of a leader’s most significant responsibilities – the development of others. For New Testament teaching on the division of labour, elders and the development of others read: Acts 6:3; Romans 12:3-8; 1Corinthians 12:4-11; 28-31; 1Corinthians 14:12-13; Ephesians 4:7-11; 1Timothy 3; Titus 1:5-9; 1Peter 4:10, etc.

If you are struggling with delegation and developing the gold mine of latent potential – you don’t need to hire Jethro Consulting – the Word of God provides plenty of direction and ‘wisdom from above’ is available to you.

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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