know that’s not a very intriguing or sexy title…no clickbait there. However, to
this day, the best leadership book I’ve ever read is the Bible (and like you, I’ve
read a lot of leadership books). One of the most interesting leadership
interactions I’ve ever read about is out of Exodus chapter 18.
is actually pretty early in his personal leadership development and along comes
Exodus chapter 18, which turns out to be a crucible moment for Moses. It’s one
of those moments where Moses’ leadership grows exponentially. Exponential leadership
growth, or crucible moments, are usually a result of pain in our lives, and in
Exodus 18 Moses is experiencing all kinds of leadership pain. In fact, it was
so painful it affected his family so badly that his father-in-law had to step
in. Not a great moment for a son-in-law.
we are the lid to our own leadership
next day Moses sat to judge the people and the people stood around Moses from
morning till evening.” Exodus 18:13
was his own worst enemy, and the worst part is he didn’t even see it. He had
led himself into a corner. Every decision had to go through him. He chose
control over growth. He could control everything if it came through him, but by
doing so he stunted his own personal leadership growth and prevented himself
from being what the Israelites needed him to be. At first, for a new young
leader that may make you feel important and valuable. But like Moses you’ll
quickly learn that when you’re running from sunup to sundown, that kind of
approach can lead to some very unhealthy behaviors in your life and actually
hurt the Church.
all have blind spots
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?’” Exodus 18:14a
had a blind spot. He was doing something that wasn’t good for himself and it
wasn’t good for the people he was supposed to be leading. And by the way, it
also wasn’t good for his family…that’s probably why his father-in-law butted
in. We all need people to butt-in from time to time and hold up a mirror to
help us see things that we just can’t see on our own. When people hold up a
mirror to your leadership is your first inclination to listen and ponder or
fight and offer excuses?
don’t have to lead alone
do you sit alone, and all of the people stand around you from morning till
evening?’” Exodus 18:14b
by its very nature is exclusive. After all, how many CEO’s of Amazon are there?
How many CEO’s of Apple are there? I think you get my point. However, just because
leadership is exclusive doesn’t mean it needs to be lonely. Those are two
different things. While it’s true that the leader has decision making power and
carries weight that others in the organization don’t, it doesn’t mean they need
to do that in isolation. It’s never good to sit alone in leadership like Moses
was. Bad things happen when leaders become lonely.
not the only one who can do it
father-in-law said to him, ‘What you are doing is not good.’” Exodus 18:17
church leaders buy into the lie that says, “no one can do it as good as me,”
all kinds of bad things happen. You suffer, everyone around you suffers, and
the mission of Jesus suffers, You suffer because you carry more than you are
called and designed to carry. People around you suffer because they carry less
than they are called and designed to carry. The mission of Jesus suffers because
less people are involved in the mission and as a result the reach of the Gospel
is diminished. Are you carrying out your calling, or have you picked up things
that it’s time to let go of?
help you need is probably right under your nose
Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. 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.” Exodus 18:24-25
we can’t see the solutions God is providing us because we’re more focused on
being a victim and find a solution. Moses had become a bit self-absorbed and had
a bit of a “woe-is-me” attitude. As soon as Moses started looking around to see
what kind of solution and resources God had provided him and got his eyes off
of himself things started working for Israel and for Moses. Stop feeling sorry
for yourself and playing the part of a martyr, take a different approach and
find a solution.