Leaders must grow in the skill to delegate responsibility

Healthy leadership leads to growth, resulting in increased organizational load for the leader which at some point will impede the leader’s ability lead effectively – unless the leader grows in the skill to delegate responsibly.

Scripture

Exodus 18:13-24

13 The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. 14 When [Jethro] his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”  15 Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”

17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 21 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. 22 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. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”  24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said.

Observations and reflection questions

Note: After Moses lead the Hebrews out of Egypt, Moses’ father-in-law Jethro brought heard of it and came to Moses in the wilderness.

  1. What troubled Jethro about Moses’ leadership style? And what was the risk?
  2. Ironically, what was the thing that caused Moses to be overwhelmed? [hint: God’s gift and God’ will]
    1. What was the promise of Jethro’s counsel? (verse 23)
    2. What do you learn from this about leadership, obedience and stewarding your gift?
  3. In your own words, what were the qualifications of people Moses were advised to assign responsibility to, in order to lighten his load?
    1. Instead, what were the three things ought Moses to focus on? (verses 19-21)
    2. What do you learn about leadership, obedience and stewardship from this example?

Personal reflection and application questions

Moses was an extraordinary transformational leader with profound wisdom and endurance, so the people were naturally drawn to him for counsel, but the workload drained him and impeded his leadership function. He had to learn to delegate leadership responsibility and empower trustworthy people in solving less critical matters.  This ensured progress towards the vision and his personal preservation.

  1. Consider a major personal area of leadership or responsibility.
    1. What were you called to do or entrusted with primarily? Pray about this now and write it down.
    2. What do you do best, and what do you enjoy doing most?
    3. Which non-core tasks are you responsible for which other trained people can do just as well as you do?
    4. Whom in your group can you train and entrust to do these essential but non-core tasks, to lighten you load and ensure better progress in your vision or project? Pray and write down names and future responsibilities.
    5. Make dates to talk through these things with these people.
  2. For fellowship or Bible study groups, assigning “Prayer Friends” to encourage and support one or two people is an excellent way to ensure the care and welfare of the whole group, while lightening the load of the small group leader.
    1. In your group, who is capable and faithful to do such a thing? Pray about this now.
    2. Whom should they walk a road with, and what would their responsibilities be?
    3. When will you talk to them about this?

Leaders are not victims to circumstance – they take charge of every situation and fulfill their call

People frequently feel powerless and victim to changing circumstances.  Leadership take charge of every situation and fulfill their task, paving a way for others to follow after.

This short introductory video by De Waal Esterhuizen shares how he grew in responsibility and authority of what is entrusted to him.

Scripture

Mark 4:36-41

36  Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37  And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38  But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39  Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40  But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” 41  And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

Observation and reflection questions

  1. The disciples were in the boat fearing drowning at sea. How did Jesus take charge of the stormy sea and wind? (verse 39)
  2. Jesus asked the disciples , “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (verse 40). What did he mean by asking this?

Application and Prayer

Jesus took charge of the storm and ensured they reaches their destination.  He taught the disciples a valuable lesson in not succumbing to fear or victimhood but to take charge of every situation, starting with the faith in their mouth.

Mark 11:23  “For assuredly, I [Jesus] say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.’”

  1. List the situation in your life which are out of control, either personal life or political situation or business ventures.
  2. Pray and ask God to reveal his will in each of these situations. Declare yourself servant to Him and ask for his leading. Ask that God will fill your heart with faith.
  3. Do what Jesus modelled (Mark 4:36-40) and what Jesus instructed (Mark 11:23) – take charge of the situation in prayer, declaring what must happen. After speaking to God, speak to the “mountain” with faith.
  4. It might be helpful to pray together with one or more mature Christians; pray until there is results or until there is a sense of breakthrough in the Holy Spirit.

Note: I have found that although most people know Proverbs 18:20-21 below very few practice the discipline of declaration – to take charge of situations in the spirit – and therefore they lack “the fruit” thereof and continue to live as victims of circumstance.  Don’t be one of them – be a leader who takes charge of every situation and fulfill your call in the Lord.

Proverbs 18:20-21 “A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth, from the produce of his lips he shall be filled.  Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Leaders take charge of a situation

Leadership is not a theory. Leadership is action that requires commitment to a task and responsibility for the people whom they steer.

This short introductory video by De Waal Esterhuizen inspires leaders to take charge, to take responsibility of their community https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0S4tSv8quKU )

Scripture

Nehemiah 2:1-18

1  In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. 2  And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. 3  I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” 4  Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5  And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.”  6  And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time. 7  And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah, 8  and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy.” And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me…

11  So I went to Jerusalem and was there three days. 12  Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem. There was no animal with me but the one on which I rode. 13  I went out by night by the Valley Gate to the Dragon Spring and to the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that were broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire… 16  And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, and I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, and the rest who were to do the work. 17  Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” 18  And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work.

Observation and reflection questions

Context: 70 years after the exile of Judah God placed it in Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild Jerusalem after he heard the sad news of hoe devastated it was. He was the cupbearer to the King.

  1. What was troubling Nehemiah’s heart so much? Why do you think this troubled him? [verse1-5]
  2. What idea or plan was forming in Nehemiah’s heart? What did he decide to do about it?
  3. Nehemiah was wise, thorough and strategic. Before announcing his idea, what did he do? [verses 11-16]
  4. What is ironic about Nehemiah’s plan? [hint: where was Nehemiah, where was the need, and who else is mentioned in this text – especially verse 16]
    1. What do you learn from this regarding the nature and cost of leadership?

Personal reflection and application questions

Nehemiah lived a privileged and comfortable life in the presence of the Persian King Artaxerxes. But new of the devastation of his beloved Jerusalem moved his heart, and after prayer committed to rebuild and restore the city to its former glory.

  1. List your responsibilities – both task and people. Indicate priorities for each responsibility.
  2. Is it too much? Who assigned you this responsibility? Which can you shift over to someone else? To whom and when?
  3. Consider your top priority responsibilities. How committed are you to these responsibilities? When will you know you have completed your mandate there?
  4. Nehemiah’s heart moved him to leave all else and commit to rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
  5. What is burning in your heart?
  6. When will you review or inspect the scope of the “project” or purpose?
  7. When will you communicate this “project” or purpose, and to whom?

Prayer

Thank God for entrusting to you the things you have responsibility over; pray for the needs in these areas of responsibility and ask for grace to be faithful. Now ask the Lord what he wants to entrust to you; respond as he leads.

Stewardship 10 – ownership and responsibility

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on stewardship – particularly regarding ownership and responsibility.

Scripture

Note: Today we consider the life example of Joseph – a faithful steward to three masters.

Genesis 39:1-6

1  Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. 2  The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master.

3  His master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. 4  So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. 5  From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had, in house and field. 6  So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate…

Genesis 39:20-23

20  And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. 21  But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22  And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. 23  The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the LORD was with him. And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed.

Genesis 41:40-44

40  You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.”  41  And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”  42  Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck.  43  And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44  Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”

Observations and reflections

These few verses from the account of Joseph’s enslavement, imprisonment and promotion teach us much about Biblical stewardship.

  1. In each of the three texts identify:
    1. Who was the owner of the property?
    2. Who was responsible for the property?
    3. What was entrusted to Joseph?
    4. Why was Joseph successful? [note God’s part and Joseph’s part in his success]
  2. Reading the stories, there is incredible similarity and deliberate progression. Consider the progress through the three accounts and indicate how [if at all] these factors changed:
    1. Joseph’s environment
    2. Joseph’s role and responsibility
    3. Joseph’s authority
    4. Joseph character.
  3. Looking at these accounts, what are your conclusions on:
    1. stewardship and ownership
    2. stewardship and responsibility
    3. stewardship and authority
    4. stewardship and faithfulness
    5. stewardship and life purpose.

Application

It is clear that the enslavement and imprisonment of Joseph was part of God’s plan for his life, although it was really tough.  But his faithful stewardship and integrity of what was entrusted to him proved his character and paved the way to his ultimate life purpose.

  1. Consider your own life situation and your degree of faithfulness to what is entrusted to you.
    1. Do you see God’s hand in steering of your life? Why / why not?
    2. Do you consider yourself as faithful to steward – to your earthly masters and to God? Why / why not?

Prayer

Pray about your answers and thoughts on this account.  Pray for the grace and favour Joseph had in his stewardship of earthly matters, and ultimately his life purpose.