There is no doubt that Moses is one of the heroes of the Bible. He is known for bringing the Ten Commandments, going head-to-head with Pharaoh and leading the Israelites through the Red Sea. He is also mentioned in Hebrews for his great faith. But what can we learn about the leadership of Moses?
After God used Moses to rescue His people, word of the miracles spread through the land. Not too far away in Midian was Moses’ father-in-law Jethro. When he heard of the great things God had done, he came to visit Moses.
Time to ask- How can I lead like Moses?
#1 Moses gave the full picture, the good and the bad
Moses shared is first hand experiences with the miracles of God. From the burning bush, to the tablets containing the Ten Commandments, to his staff turning into a snake. Then continuing to describe the plagues, Pharaoh’s attitude, and the first Passover. I would love to hear Moses describe watching the Red Sea part and the feelings and emotions of watching the water rush back and consume the pursuing Egyptians.
Notice the difficulties of leadership Moses experienced were also a part of the conversation. All of the fruitless conversations with Pharaoh, followed by the miraculous plagues. Pharaoh finally letting the people go only to change his mind and chase them down. The historic parting of the Red Sea. The Israelites complained when they were hungry and thirsty, wishing they were back in Egypt. What a slap in the face to Moses and to God for the people to accuse Moses of bringing them out of Egypt to die.
2 So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”
3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”
Moses did not focus on the good or the bad only. He share the great things God had done, but he also shared the reality that things were sometimes difficult.
#2 Moses listened to advice
Jethro listened to Moses, then he observed. He watched Moses interact with the people. They would come, share all their problems, and Moses would hear every case they brought to him and he would act as judge. Jethro looked around and noticed many just standing around.
He looked as Moses and asked a question I think many of us should be asked. “What is this you are doing for the people?”
Moses thought he was doing the right thing. He thought he was helping them seek God’s will. Then Jethro looked at him and said some words I wish someone would have told me a while ago. “What you are doing is not good. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.”
How many times have you been leading your ministry all by yourself. With no help. You do it for the kids, because they deserve it. But Moses did it for the people. He thought he was doing a good thing, but the reality is he was wearing himself out.
Jethro tells Moses that indeed he should teach the people God’s decrees. And show them how to live and behave. Then he gives this piece of advice.
“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. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”Exodus 18:21-23
Did you catch that? He told Moses to delegate. Moses didn’t have to take on every responsibility. He could assign some responsibilities to those around him so he was not strained. And Moses listened.
#3 Moses delegated responsibility
How about you? Are you trying to do everything yourself? Listen to Jethro—that isn’t good.
First thing you can do is write out a list of responsibilities—all the things that you do. Then organize them into two columns- things only you can do, and things someone else can do. Now comes the tough part. You need to find some people to share the responsibility with.
At one point in my ministry, I was responsible for every single Sunday Kids service. Sure I had a team around me, but I planned, I taught, and I delegated some parts of the service. But I still had to be there and I still had to be in charge.
During one leadership training meeting, I explained the strain this caused. Many of my team had no idea, and immediately jumped in to make sure I had some Sundays I could attend the adult service. That was a Moses moment for me. I needed to share responsibility with those around me.
I can hear some of you saying “I don’t have anyone to delegate to!” Well, first I would encourage you to try to find someone to help you with some of the smaller tasks. And if truly you cannot find anyone to help you, then you should consider dropping some of those things. If someone notices and asks, then you may have just found someone to help! Otherwise, spend your time doing things only you can do- and let some of the smaller things drop. You may find that you really don’t need those things anyway.
When we are trying to lead a group or a ministry, we can use this example and lead like Moses. #1 Look at the entire picture, not just the good or the bad. #2 listen to Godly advice and #3 delegate responsibility. If you are looking for more biblical leadership tips check out: lead like Jesus.
How about you? Do you delegate well? Do you like to hear advice? Is there something else you need help with when it comes to leadership? Leave a comment and let us know.