Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. You will surely wear yourself out, both you and these people with you. For the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.” Exodus 18:17–18
You can’t do it all yourself. If you think you can—you’re wrong—and you will wear yourself out, and you won’t do your best work. That was the assessment of Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro. Jethro went on to say that Moses had to learn to delegate tasks and share his authority with others whom he trusted. Moses needed to be careful in his selection of people he would put in charge, but he needed to have others share the burdens and blessings of leadership with him.
This is a reality of leadership that is as true today as it was in Moses’ time. Great leaders don’t do everything—in fact, the mark of a truly fine leader is often their ability to cultivate the leadership abilities of others. Some people like to be big shots, believing that they are the only ones who can do a particular job. There are other folks who don’t delegate because they don’t believe things will be done well if they are not involved themselves. And still others do not share tasks because they don’t want to impose upon others by asking people to join them in their work. All these are pathways to leadership peril. Leadership requires delegating authority, and when that happens, organizations, communities, and relationships begin to grow stronger. Moses took his father-in-law’s advice and the Hebrew people were strengthened by Moses’ actions.
What tasks or authority do you need to share with someone else?
Lord, I feel best when I do something myself, because I feel I know how things should best be done. However, my compulsion to do everything may squelch the leadership potential of others. It also limits what can be done, because there are natural limits on my time. Lord, help me to delegate, help me to share tasks with others, help me to empower others to positions of authority . . . so that we both grow and our work is done even better. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.