Have you ever heard of a man named Jethro in the Bible? If not, then I’m assuming you at least know who Moses was. Remember, the one who parted the Red Sea and was tasked with delivering the Israelites out of Egypt? Now just imagine being Moses’ Father-in-Law and how bizarre that would be!
I was spending one evening in thought about how vast the Bible is and how many stories, parables, and people make up this Book. It dawned on me to think about how many characters and stories are in the Bible, and always have been, that we rarely if ever talk about!
That’s when I came across the story of Jethro.
Working from Dawn Till Dusk
Exodus 18 kicks off once the Israelites have already escaped Egypt, Pharaoh, and slavery. Very shortly after, they are working through what I would like to paraphrase as “settling in as a community”. They’re figuring out what post-Egypt Israelites look like for them as a group of people and with Moses in the lead of these tens of thousands of people, it takes some time and energy to get adjusted to.
Starting in verse 13, Moses has just sat in the judge’s seat from morning till night it says, and that thought alone exhausts me. Imagine you’re the CEO of a major corporation and you’re sitting at the head of the conference table and from sun up to sun down you’re approving or dismissing every vital decision that to be made from tens of thousands of employees. Talk about mind-numbing work!
You know how they say your body can keep going as long as your mind doesn’t give up? It’s so critical to keep in mind just how important our mental energy is to us succeeding in life. I believe Moses was getting close to hitting his breaking point, and his father-in-law took notice.
Jethro approaches Moses and says to him “What are you doing?! Are you insane?!”
But he did question his methods. He asks Moses firstly why he’s doing it, or in other words, his heart behind this whole situation, and Moses replies with a “because God said so” as I’m sure most of us have said before. My favorite part of all of this is that Jethro fights back.
The Leadership Principle
Jethro tells Moses that what he is doing is a sure-fire way to wear himself out and it’s not what God has told him to do, but how he’s going about it, that’s not working and that he can not be doing alone anymore. He explains to him that especially since Moses knows the ways of God, it’s because of that, that he needs to teach others God’s instructions and how they should behave. Jethro explains that he should be leading those that he deems capable of handling this responsibility on how to form solutions to these disputes.
But Jethro doesn’t stop there. He goes on to say once he gives the people he entrusts that work-load, then they need to find people to teach and empower smaller but just as vital responsibilities and create this chain of command.
Does any of this sound familiar? It’s simply delegation at its finest. It’s an excellent example of a leadership principle that not only churches but businesses alike use even to this day.
From Jethro’s Time to Today
This leadership principle of delegation never changes. Here are the 3 key reasons why we need to all heed Jethro’s advice:
- We were never meant to do life on our own. Period.
- There is value and importance in not only having community but building trust with the people you consider your community.
- Once you trust those people, then you need to let go. Let go of what you’ve given to them and step back to handle what is actually on your plate.
I believe if more people took the time to work at this leadership principle, we would have not only happier pastors and bosses, but also just as happy staff and volunteers.
Some of us might need to take a tip from Jethro, the father-in-law that had a truly God-inspired leadership principle. If you’re lacking this strategy your life then maybe implement it where you can. It’ll only help our efforts in reaching our goal to succeed and thrive in life, work, and relationships.