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Running On Empty

Moses was a great leader who was chosen by God to lead the Israelites to the promise land. He was married to Zipporah and they had two sons; Gershom and Eliezer. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, together with Moses’ sons and wife, came to see Moses in the wilderness. Moses had been in the wilderness where he was camped leading about two million Israelites out of Egypt to the promise land. While Jethro was visiting, he observed Moses for a day and offered him some godly counsel.

Today I am going to share with you 4 lessons from the counsel of Jethro to Moses.

It is good to delegate as a leader (Exodus 18:17-18)

There will come a point when you can no longer keep up with all the demands that come your way. Jethro suggested that Moses raised up lots of new leaders who could share in the activities and take some of the burden off Moses as the senior leader. It is crucial that we do the same in our churches, places of work and even our homes.

By delegating, you will have more time to work on your skills and other pressing issues. This will help you to achieve your goals in less time and set up higher goals to reach. You will become more efficient as the stress will be less, which means that your vision will be wider. This will also you give your team more confidence, making them feel important and letting them show what they are capable of. 

It is Good to Recognise Leadership Capacity and talent (Exodus 18:17-18)

When Jethro was advising Moses to choose other judges who could work under his authority, he did not suggest giving the same level of responsibility to each of them. Some were appointed to be leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, and finally some leaders of tens. 

Having the ability to lead 10 people is completely different to leading a thousand people. Different skill sets and personal temperaments are required in order to get the best out of the leaders that you have in your church or place of work. The Bible says; “To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey (Matthew 25:15).

I have seen some Churches where people’s talents are not being used because they are not connected with those at the top or because they come from a totally different ethnic background. We need to make sure when we choose people to function in any office or to do any task, it is purely based on their abilities and talents rather than for personal reasons.

Equip your team

Are you a builder or a destroyer? We need to learn to build others and not put them down.

Jethro instructed Moses to be a manager and a teacher; “Teach them the decrees and laws and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform” (Exodus 18:20). Jethro’s advice was to “show them the way”. Instead of the elders just standing there and doing nothing, he might as well train them to do some of the jobs so that he can focus on more pressing issues.

Throughout Jesus' ministry, He actively sought out individuals to equip - so they could in turn equip others. He spent a night in prayer and then chose His first disciples. He taught them and then sent them out in His name to share the gospel with others. The command He gave at the end of his earthly life still holds true for His us today: to "make disciples" (Matt. 28:18-20). By following Jesus' example, we will develop mature and multiplying disciples. As we focus our ministry on this process, not only will the students grow, but our leaders will grow as well.

We need Godly Counsel (Proverbs 12:15)

When you are at the top of your game leading millions of people, it is easy to get carried away and not take advise. Look at Jethro for example, he was not even an Israelite but an outsider. However, he could see things that Moses and the other leaders could not see. It is often the case that when somebody has their head in the task that they are doing, it can be difficult to step back and notice something is not going on well.

Sometimes, we can be so busy working in our ministries, that we lose the necessary perspective to work on those ministries. Jethro noticed this problem from day one. When we find ourselves in this kind of situation, it is good to get Godly advice from somebody who can see the whole picture. The Bible says; “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel (Proverbs 12:15).


Moses was not a know-it-all manager; he listened to Jethro. Despite his vast responsibilities and many previous successes, Moses remained open and approachable. He continued to learn new things from others. Moses understood the book of Proverbs 9:9 and applied it to his own life: “Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still”. I pray that the Lord will give you the grace to be open to godly advice irrespective of the position you find yourself in and the Lord will teach you how to make the best use of your talents in Jesus name. Amen

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