Moses had a natural bent to study, meditate, and teach. For the congregation to flourish, he would have to stretch himself. Jethro continues in Exodus 18:21, “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.”
For Moses to thrive in the wilderness, he had to delegate and empower others. Instead of doing everything while everyone watched, he had to start leading others. He needed to build a team with each person serving according to their giftedness and capacity. Moses couldn’t shoulder the burden alone, but a team pulling in the same direction could meet every need.
How do we build a team? According to Exodus 18:21 we need to first select capable people. This is not an advertisement on the website for anyone interested. Jesus prayed all night before he chose twelve disciples. We also must be selective. One quality of a capable person is their ability to solve problems. We want positive people who can identify problems and provide solutions.
Also, they must fear God, or have a sense of awe, respect, and reverence for God. This is more important than charisma, the ability to woo, or the gift of gab. They don’t need to be perfect angels. But they should be eager to take the next step in their relationship with Jesus.
They should also be trustworthy and dependable. When the time comes to purchase a new car, we all want reliability. The bells and whistles are nice, but will it start at 5 AM when it’s below zero and we need to nd we get work?
Don’t make an impulse buy when the latest hotrod rolls in. Before you give a title out, allow someone to prove themselves in a smaller way. Before setting them over thousands, ask them if they would be OK leading a group of ten.
Finally, Jethro advised Moses to appoint them. This requires an uncomfortable degree of risk, like putting in a freshman quarterback in the final seconds of the fourth quarter with the championship on the line. But, you can’t wear the headset, coach the team, and play quarterback at the same time.
Notice Proverbs 14:4 from the NLT, “Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.” The only good thing about a one-man show is that everything stays neat, clean, and controlled. On the downside, you have no harvest. It’s risky, but the reward is worth it. A culture of delegation and empowerment will attract other leaders. If you hold the ministry too tightly, you’ll squeeze the life out of it.
In the painting Flight of Fancy by Magaritte, we see a painter putting the finishing touches on a bird taking flight, with majestic outstretched wings. The artist’s head is turned to the left and focused intently on an egg sitting on a table. Instead of seeing an old egg, he envisioned what the egg would become. May God give us the vision to see the potential in others instead of magnifying their faults.
Nick Sabin, the football coach for the Alabama Tide, has won six national championships, eight SEC titles and is still going strong at 67. At just 15 years old, his coach at Monongah High School saw something special in him. As a young sophomore, he made him the starting quarterback and allowed him to call the plays from the huddle. The way we see others can cause them to soar to greater heights.
Jethro wraps it up with this promise in Exodus 18:23, “If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.” I can see Jethro pointing at the Disney like line as he said, “If you do this, all these people will go home satisfied.” The Hebrew word for “satisfied” is shalom, and is most often translated peace. It is a rich, multifaceted word that means wholeness, contentment, prosperity, and tranquility.
How would Moses respond? At 80 years of age he was at the top of the food chain. The whole nation looked to him for advice. Though advanced in years, he was not set in his ways. He was a humble, life-long learner and listener. Exodus 18:24 says, “Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said.”