One of the tragedies of the modern church is that we just don’t seem to understand a lesson the Moses learnt from his father-in-law. Sadly we fail to realise that not every godly Christian leader should aspire to be the so-called “number one” leader of a church. Many churches are started and do not grow because the person at the helm was never meant to be in such a role. Perhaps in some cases that leader could be helped to birth a church by despite branching out on his own remaining under the care and close direction of another. Perhaps the initiator and father-figure role of some leaders can be exercised from afar via someone who looks up to them. But, surely one of the real challenges is to help people find their place in leadership which in most cases may well not be in yearning after leading their own church. In order to grow large churches, we need to multiply many leaders who are secure in God enough, and in their own calling from God to fulfil their role without “doing their own thing”.
In the story to follow, it is striking that Moses appointed godly people as leaders over 10s, 50s, 100s and 1000s. This reflects the differing capacity for leadership we all have. Surely we need such leaders in the church today. Whats your capacity? And what kind of leader are you? Are you in a team right now? Are you content to do whatever God is calling you to do? Are you being faithful with the small job that God has entrusted you with right now so that just maybe you might be entrusted with more in the future?
These words from the scriptures could have been written about leading today:
The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. 14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?” 15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God; 16 when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.” 17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. 19 Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, 20 and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. 21 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. 22 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. 23 If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.” 24 So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. 25 Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 26 And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves.