Leader, don’t try to do everything

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.” (Ex 18:21–22)

After the people left Egypt, Moses visits his father in law, Jethro. He recounts the previous episode, how the Lord delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians. Jethro praises the Lord for the work God has done for Israel. 

While Jethro praises the Lord for the work He did for the Israelites, he observes Moses’ interactions with the people, which concern him. He sees Moses judging disputes before the people day and night. All the people come to Moses with questions both big and small. He spends all day communicating the law to the people case by case. 

Jethro is concerned Moses and the people will burn out. No one man can judge between a nation of 600,000+ people. Jethro offers Moses advice that we should all heed. He tells him to delegate the load. Gather other men who are trustworthy. Teach them the law and give them responsibility to communicate with the people. Those cases that are hard and difficult, the ones that are weighty should come to Moses, but not before those Moses appoints hears them first. 

Jethro’s advice is golden and should be heeded by every leader. You cannot do everything. If you try, you will not only burn out, but you will cripple the organization you are appointed to lead. 

Leader, ask yourself: What is it that only I can do? If at all possible, that is what you should be doing.  Everything else you should pass off to others, if at all possible. Of course, there will be times when you have to do things others could do. But when the opportunity arises to pass those things off to others, take the opportunity. You and your organization will be all the better for it. 

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