Don’t Wear Ourselves Out (Exodus 18:1-27)


As Moses is leading the people of Israel around in the wilderness, his father-in-law Jethro visits him. Moses relates all the victories and hardships he has gone through.

As Jethro hangs around he watches his son-in-law’s workload. He asks what is wrong with Moses. He works from morning to night. Every little detail is put into Moses hands. Which means he is a bottleneck to the organizational efficiency.  Jethro asks, “Why?” (Ex 18:14)  Why are you doing everything? Why does every dispute have to be decided by you?

Jethro doesn’t just warn Moses. He warns all the people of God. “Y’all are are going to wear yourselves out.”(Ex 18:17)  Then Jethro gives some sound organizational leadership advise. Delegate.

The first step is to stick to your core calling. He tells Moses, “You must be the people’s representative before God.” His responsibility is to bring his people before the Lord as well as sharing God’s word with the people (Ex 18:20).  To lead God’s people Moses is called to:

  • Teach them the Lord’s word, God’s vision for their kingdom future.
  • Show them the way they are to live
  • Show them how they are to behave

The next step is lifting up leaders. “Select capable individuals from all the people who fear God” (Ex 18:21).

Notice that we are to look from leaders from all the people. Not just one group. Often people we might overlook are the ones God is lifting up.

What determines if someone is capable? Certainly leaders need skills and talents. But often those can be learned. What God finds capable is frequently the heart we have for others. Like Moses found himself drafted because he cared about the Jewish people.

Fear God?  A lot of meaning is packed into the Old Testament phrase “fear God”.  Rather than a dread of God, it means you respect God enough that you don’t think you are a god. Being in awe of God means trusting God in all circumstances.  For leaders in the Church “fearing God”, revering God, relying on God, loving God is more important than any skill or talent. If God can make Balaam’s ass talk, he can use anybody who fears God enough to let God work in their lives.

One of the amazing truths in the Church is that as people grow in faith they grow as leaders. In my years of ministry I have seen over and over that the pathway of leadership is individuals who desire the Lord.

What an immense blessing because every believer has the potential to grow as a leader. The church is a learning organization where the people of the church grow in faith and knowing the LORD, grow in His Word and his way of life, and thus grow as leaders.

Then as a typical consultant, Jethro went back home to let Moses deal with the huge mass of people (Ex 18:27).  🙂


“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Pastor Douglas

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