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. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. – Exo. 18:21-22 NIV
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Moses had just struck the rock at Horeb, in compliance with the instruction of God, to provide water for the Israelites who had complained of being thirsty, in a location which he was to later rename Massah and Meribah – Exo. 17:1-7. Biblical chronology lists the attack of the Amalekites as the event that followed this miraculous provision of water and in an equally miraculous fashion, that also signified the importance of unity to achieving success, the Amalekites were roundly defeated. Moses in strategizing for that battle, had instructed Joshua to lead the battle lines whilst he provided the spiritual support required, with Aaron and Hur helping to keep his hand in the raised position as it was in that position that the Israelites had an upper hand in the battle against the Amalekites – Exo. 17:8-13. It was indeed a strong proof of what united effort can achieve even with God’s support.
Anyone would think that with this event Moses would have learnt the great advantage of allotting responsibilities to several capable people in order to achieve success even on a divine mission as leading the people of God but this was not so. He still chose to concentrate all powers to himself directly rather than delegate some responsibilities to capable members of his team and this was his approach with regards to his role as a judge of the people – Exo. 18:13-14. He invited his father-in-law, Jethro who had come on a visit from Midian, to one of his judgement sessions and Jethro, observing his mode of administration, concluded that he was endangering himself health wise, by concentrating all activities to himself especially in relation to adjudicating the various disputes amongst his people. Although Moses tried to justify his action by giving the impression that only he could relate the Will of God to them regarding their several points of dispute, Jethro made him realize the lack of wisdom in his administrative model by letting him understand that all he would succeed in doing is to wear himself out as the schedule will be too overbearing for him – Exo. 18:17-18. Part of his advice to him on a better way to administer the people is the foundation scripture for today’s Devotion (Exo. 18:19-23), and this is detailed as follows;
- He must see himself as the people’s representative before the Almighty God and so bring their issues to Him – Exo.18:19. This part of the ministry cannot be delegated to anyone as he is the only personality that the Almighty God recognises and will probably listen to with regards to all issues related to the people – Heb. 5:1-5.
- He should teach the people the laws and the decrees of the Lord, how to live in them and the duties they are to perform – Exo. 18:20. In the process, he will have access to trained resources who will also be vast in the laws and decrees of God and so will be able to effectively represent him on minor issues. Success of this approach will definitely engender healthier relationship amongst the people and the relationship between the Almighty God and the people. That way, he will not only be reactive to the people’s disputes but will also be pro-active by arming them with appropriate and sufficient knowledge on how to live in peace with God and fellow men.
- These role will however not be open to just anyone but only to a selected few who have been identified to possess the following qualities;
- The chosen ones must be selected amongst the people – Heb. 5:1. The ones that will hold such leadership positions must be those who have interacted sufficiently with the people to know their culture and lifestyle, as anyone from outside the group may lose the base knowledge required for proper leadership of the people.
- They must have been adjudged to be capable of playing the role for which they are being chosen. There must be sufficient evidence of previous activities that indicates their suitability for the roles for which they are to be assigned. It cannot be that untested persons or greenhorns will be selected for this role.
- They must be adjudged to be God-fearing in character. To fear God is to recognise Him as the righteous and ultimate judge of every act of man and He will be recompense for all acts, good or evil – Rev. 22:12. The one who is proven to lack the fear of God cannot be entrusted with any leadership role, more so leadership of God’s people.
- They must be trustworthy people who hate dishonest gain. A dishonest person in any way whatsoever should never be considered for such roles as there will definitely be unrighteousness with such a person.
It is people with the above character traits that Jethro suggested should be part of Moses’s administrative structure and should play roles of first line judges that will handle minor disputes with only the more technical ones referred to him for adjudication – Exo. 18:22.
Although Moses’s father-in-law was very much convinced that his suggested administrative structure will make the load lighter on Moses as it will be shared amongst many more people, he conditioned the acceptance of his advise by Moses on his getting positive approval for such plans from the Lord. It was only then that the advise could be implemented – Exo. 18:23.
Many leaders in the church today will actually need these advise of Jethro for Moses as most Christian leaders for varied reasons have built structures solely around themselves and practically nothing happens without their direct involvement and approval. The implication is lack of progress and where there is progress, it is delayed 9r short-lived as every process will need to await the approval of a single person who is definitely over-whelmed by the various tasks relating to such positions. No wonder many Christian leaders are not able to enjoy good health and sometimes long life. This definitely has nothing to do with enemies of whatever form. It is simply impossible for anyone to singly be everything to every body in every group whether Christian or not. There is no doubt that the vision of the Call may have been given to the leader but the entire implementation cannot be for the leader alone if such a leader intends to be effective in the Call. The Almighty being aware of this will always raise co-workers to help in the actualisation of the vision and such people must not only be identified and so empowered, they must also be allowed to operate without encumbrances, all within the vision of the Call.
There must be a structure that places total responsibility and appropriate authority on capable people. Capable because they must meet basic standards, similar to that listed by Jethro, but definitely tweeked to fit into specific situations, that should qualify them for such positions. Applying sentiments in the selection process will be as bad if not worse than the single the case of the individual concentrating powers to him/her self.
Every group, especially Christian groups must build an organogram to guide administrative processes, of course, with approval of the Almighty God as advised by Jethro, if they are to grow. The disciples took a while to know this as the brethren were increasing, but they enjoyed the positive reward of identifying roles that must not be delegated and those that should be delegated, and built an administrative structure around such awareness. The result was peace and progress for individuals in particular and the church in general – Acts 6:1-7. The lack of growth of your Christian group may just be the result of a poor or absent administrative structure. Create and implement a structure today that has the approval of the Almighty God and you will be assured of instant growth in all areas of the ministry. May God grant us all the wisdom to identify the right personalities that will be components of an administrative structure with divine approval that will enhance growth and success in Jesus name. Amen.
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