It’s hard for leaders to rely on others.  They like being on the pedestal and feeling responsible for everyone.  It makes them feel needed and important. 

In Exodus 18 we see Moses taking on too much in his role as judge over the people of Israel.  Good ole’ Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, rebukes him saying, “What you are doing is not good.  You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you.  You are not able to do it alone” (Exod. 18:18).

Leaders can’t do it alone.  That’s clear in this text.  God drove this point home to me even further in a book I’m reading called, Organic Leadership.  As a leader I’m not only going to wear myself out if I try to do it alone, I’m also enabling the irresponsible behavior of others.  Neil Cole says,

As long as leaders continue to fulfill all roles of responsibility, the others will not be able to do what God has called them to do.

Do you see what he’s saying?  The bottleneck in God’s work within a church if often it’s leaders.  We need to be reminded of this daily.  Moses did.  You see, the ironic thing about this story in Exodus 18 is that one chapter earlier God used Moses’ outstretched hands to conquer his enemies.  Whenever he held up his hands, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hands, Amalek prevailed (Exod. 17:11).  But Moses’ hands grew tired and weary and so he had to rely on Aaron and Hur to hold up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side, in order to defeat Amalek.

Perhaps we can learn from Moses and visualize ourselves on a battlefield.  Just like Moses we must rely on others to hold up our hands in order to move forward and do what God has called us to do.  And just like Moses we must look for “able men who fear God” to help bear the burden of leadership.  The result?  I’ll let good ole’ Jethro tell you.

If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.  ~ Exodus 18:23