Exodus – God’s Way Out
Going into the fourth week of quarantine, I think of songs like…
“Oh yeah, I’ll tell you something
I think you’ll understand
When I’ll say that something
I wanna hold your hand…”
As I read this next chapter in Exodus, another song pops into mind (this happens to me a lot)
“All by myself
Don’t wanna be
All by myself
Then there’s the Sinatra classic…(my mind is a musical soundtrack)
“For what is a man, what has he got
If not himself then he has not
To say all the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows, I took the blows
But I did it my way…”
The last two songs remind us of the loneliness of leadership UNLESS you are doing it GOD’S WAY!
Jethro not only brings Moses’ protected wife and sons back to him in the wilderness journey but delivers advice that will help a worn out, almost burned out, weary leader of God’s people. I believe God sent Jethro with God’s wisdom that ALL leaders in God’s church should listen to and apply to their lives. (Yes, I used the Name of God three times in one sentence for emphasis!)
We were not meant to do the work God invites us to do alone as leaders called by Him. Do not let the song “all by myself” be your method of operation!
Pastors, Associate Pastors, Worship Pastors, Children and Youth Pastors, Executive Pastors, Social Media, Connections, and even those who pass out cookies and coffee, etc, read carefully and slowly.
Great leaders already know this principle. Effective, empowering leaders APPLY it live it out loud in their lives. God-led leaders teach it to others in their care like Paul did for Timothy (See also 2 Timothy 2:2). When there are leaders who lead leaders to lead like this, there will never be a shortage of leadership.
True leaders train leaders who train leaders…Obviously this is God’s Way…Read and heed.
Exodus 18, The Message
1-4 Jethro, priest of Midian and father-in-law to Moses, heard the report of all that God had done for Moses and Israel his people, the news that God had delivered Israel from Egypt. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, had taken in Zipporah, Moses’ wife who had been sent back home, and her two sons. The name of the one was Gershom (Sojourner) for he had said, “I’m a sojourner in a foreign land”; the name of the other was Eliezer (God’s-Help) because “The God of my father is my help and saved me from death by Pharaoh.”
5-6 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought Moses his sons and his wife there in the wilderness where he was camped at the mountain of God. He had sent a message ahead to Moses: “I, your father-in-law, am coming to you with your wife and two sons.”
7-8 Moses went out to welcome his father-in-law. He bowed to him and kissed him. Each asked the other how things had been with him. Then they went into the tent. Moses told his father-in-law the story of all that God had done to Pharaoh and Egypt in helping Israel, all the trouble they had experienced on the journey, and how God had delivered them.
9-11 Jethro was delighted in all the good that God had done for Israel in delivering them from Egyptian oppression. Jethro said, “Blessed be God who has delivered you from the power of Egypt and Pharaoh, who has delivered his people from the oppression of Egypt. Now I know that God is greater than all gods because he’s done this to all those who treated Israel arrogantly.”
12 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a Whole-Burnt-Offering and sacrifices to God. And Aaron, along with all the elders of Israel, came and ate the meal with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God.
13-14 The next day Moses took his place to judge the people. People were standing before him all day long, from morning to night. When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What’s going on here? Why are you doing all this, and all by yourself, letting everybody line up before you from morning to night?”
15-16 Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me with questions about God. When something comes up, they come to me. I judge between a man and his neighbor and teach them God’s laws and instructions.”
17-23 Moses’ father-in-law said, “This is no way to go about it. You’ll burn out, and the people right along with you. This is way too much for you—you can’t do this alone. Now listen to me. Let me tell you how to do this so that God will be in this with you. Be there for the people before God, but let the matters of concern be presented to God. Your job is to teach them the rules and instructions, to show them how to live, what to do. And then you need to keep a sharp eye out for competent men—men who fear God, men of integrity, men who are incorruptible—and appoint them as leaders over groups organized by the thousand, by the hundred, by fifty, and by ten. They’ll be responsible for the everyday work of judging among the people. They’ll bring the hard cases to you, but in the routine cases they’ll be the judges. They will share your load and that will make it easier for you. If you handle the work this way, you’ll have the strength to carry out whatever God commands you, and the people in their settings will flourish also.”
24-27 Moses listened to the counsel of his father-in-law and did everything he said. Moses picked competent men from all Israel and set them as leaders over the people who were organized by the thousand, by the hundred, by fifty, and by ten. They took over the everyday work of judging among the people. They brought the hard cases to Moses, but in the routine cases they were the judges. Then Moses said good-bye to his father-in-law who went home to his own country.
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
God sends mentors to us, those we trust and relate to with respect. This is the relationship Moses has with Jethro.
Who is that person (or persons) for you? Who is YOUR Jethro?
Who do you trust as a mentor who loves you and wants God’s best for you?
If you don’t have a mentor, ask God. God will answer this prayer in ways that will amaze you! He will send more than one. In each stage of life, I have had outstanding mentors who guided me with God’s wisdom from a place of love for me in all areas of my life. I am grateful to God for these people.
Who do you mentor? Who needs your encouragement and advice from years of learning God’s way?
Moses trusts Jethro and listens to his mentor. “Let me tell you how to do this so that God will be in this with you,” Jethro begins his talk.
Leadership 101 is taught after watching Moses’ method of operation. What a good mentor to watch first and then respond with constructive help for Moses.
1. You cannot and should not do this alone. You will burn out. Then what good are to to the people you lead?
2. Be there for the people before God, but let the matters of concern be presented to God.
3. God is our ultimate answer. Always.
4. Your job is to teach them the rules and instructions, to show them how to live, what to do.
5. Always keep a sharp eye out for good leaders.
6. Empower other leaders to do what you have been doing: “…competent men—men who fear God, men of integrity, men who are incorruptible—and appoint them as leaders over groups organized by the thousand, by the hundred, by fifty, and by ten.” (And women)
7. They’ll be responsible for the everyday work of judging among the people.
8. The competent chosen will know their limits and bring the “hard cases” to you.
9. They will share your load and that will make it easier for you.
10. The results of effective, empowering leadership: If you handle the work this way, you’ll have the strength to carry out whatever God commands you, and the people in their settings will flourish also.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” –Jesus
Dear Heavenly Father,
Right in the middle of our routine lives, in the middle of our own wilderness (quarantine) journeys, you teach us helpful, unforgettable lessons that lighten our loads. You say “come to Me…and we do. You say, “I will give you rest”…and you do. You say, “take my yoke (God’s will and way)…and we do. You encourage us with a lighter load because you love us and know us better than we know ourselves. For this I am eternally grateful. Thank you for all you have done, are doing and will do in my life still.
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.