W.I.S.H. – Weekly Insights for Spiritual Health 05-26-2021
Read: Exodus 18
Life can be stressful; we all know that. Leadership in times of transition and change is especially challenging and stressful. There is no greater period of transition and change than during the time of the exodus. They were a nation of former slaves, on the move, and with little preparation. We’ve seen how the people questioned Moses’ leadership and decisions, and how they grumble. And then there’s God:
“And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?”
– Numbers 14:11
Leaders are often caught in between competing interests and needs. They are also called on to make difficult decisions, often knowing that not everyone will be pleased. Moses gets an earful from both the LORD and from the newly freed slaves. I have a lot of compassion for Moses; his role was incredibly difficult.
Furthermore, Moses was the one, by default, to hear, moderate, and judge between the people in their disputes. It was too much. Enter Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law. Jethro was a priest and rancher in Midian; he knew some things about management needs. Jethro loves his son-in-law and doesn’t like to see him frazzled to wit’s end.
With great care and compassion Jethro approaches Moses and shares his counsel: Moses is doing too much. He should identify people and train them to help him. They should set up a leadership pyramid with Moses at the top. Moses should stop handling all disputes, and he should allow others to help interpret God’s law.
It’s great advice. It still works today. People in leadership roles need to learn to share responsibility, by recruiting, involving, training and delegating. It’s leadership development, and it was a necessary step in the development of God’s people from chaos to order, from insecure and dependent bands into a capable, cohesive nation. Interestingly, this wisdom came to Moses from a person, rather than from God. It seems to represent God’s will and wisdom. Insight: God often speaks to us through the love, care, and wisdom of others; we need to learn how to listen and discern.
Pastor Rob Nystrom