“But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten.”—Exodus 18:21 NLT
Many sons hate the idea of working in the family business. Many pastors’ daughters quit church after high school. These kids grew up watching Dad build “the family business” or “the ministry.” Meanwhile, Dad was depleted and their families were robbed of time together.
The day before Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, said the words quoted in the verse above, he had just returned with Moses’ wife and sons. Moses had sent them away, and while the Bible doesn’t spell out the reasons for their separation, there was tremendous conflict that preceded the separation.
Moses told Jethro all that the Lord had done to bring deliverance and provision as Israel fled Egypt. Jethro was so amazed by all God had done, he was moved to make a public declaration of faith and praise by offering God a sacrifice. “I know now that the Lord is greater than all other gods,” Jethro declared.
While Jethro was amazed with all that God had done, he was a lot less impressed with how Moses was running things; Moses was a one-man show.
“I inform the people of God’s decrees and give them His instruction,” Moses says (Exodus 18:16 NLT). Jethro responds by basically saying, “Well, this is not good. You’re not really getting much accomplished doing this all by yourself. Your frustrating the people by making them wait all day and exhausting yourself. Find some guys to help you. Train them in the things God has shown you and then watch how much you ALL can get done” (Exodus 18:17-23).
Jethro, as the grandfather of Moses’s children, was invested and keenly interested in the future of both Moses and Israel as a nation. Their destinies were intertwined. Moses, as the leader of Israel, also needed to be Moses the dad and leader of his family.
Pastor and author Gordon MacDonald says, “The legacy you leave is dependent on the men you train, the men you do life together with, and the relationships you invest into and nurture for balance.”
This principle works in so many areas of how we do church, work, leadership, family, and community building. We’re called to steward this balance. On our own, it can feel like juggling with fine china. But, in the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, it looks, feels, and sounds like a symphony.