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Monday, August 1, 2011

Delegation (1) - Exodus series (1)

We constantly feel overwhelmed at work and at home. At home, we feel as though we are outnumbered, outmanned and outsmarted by our children; there are too many tasks and not enough hours. At work, the in-box is overshadowed by our output. There is a rule called, Boyle’s law which says,

“If uncontrolled, work always

 flows to the most competent

person until he submerges.”

We have previously spent some time with Moses and his dealings with the Pharaoh and the Israelites. Today we will start to pick at the many threads of Moses’ life to talk about delegating responsibility.

This principle of delegation is encouraged throughout the Bible.
  • In Acts, the Apostles delegated work to 7 deacons so they could focus more on the spiritual matters of the church 
  • In Ephesians 4, God appointed some to be church leaders.
  • 1 Timothy 5 says that a leader should be able to manage his own household well so he can manage the church. 
  • 2 Timothy 2:2 says that Timothy was to entrust to others what he had learned so they could teach others.

Throughout the Bible we are told to delegate so that others will learn to be responsible too. This is a lesson that Moses had to learn as he led the Israelites out of Egypt.

The Israelites are finally freed from slavery and the Pharaoh, and if you didn’t know the story then you would expect it to say and they went to the Promised Land and lived happily ever after. But of course, that’s not what happened. Moses had all sorts of issues with the people which began to try his patience. He had administrative duties. He had judicial duties and an endless line of people who had so many trivial and inconsequential problems. The burden became unbearable and he was on the edge of burnout, but with the help of his father-in-law, Jethro, God taught Moses what to do to persevere. So let’s take a look at Moses’ frustration, his instructions from Jethro and then draw some conclusions that should prove helpful.

Let’s start with Moses’ frustration

Main text: Exodus 18:13-24

The specific text for this is Exodus 18:13: “The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening.”

He was trying to advise all of the Israelite people personally from sun-up to sundown, every single day. We must keep in mind that these people were used to being slaves and being told what to do. But now that they had their freedom, they still needed Moses’ advice on everything. Moses was inhumanly busy.

There is an old saying, “If Satan can’t make you bad, then he’ll just keep you busy.” Moses was so busy that he was getting stressed out.

In Numbers 11:11 Moses says, “God what have I done so bad that you have given me the burden of all these people?”

Moses had made a mistake common to us all. He mistook busyness for accomplishment.

He confused activity for success. In our current society, we think of busyness is a status symbol. We think the more successful we are, the busier we should be.

Reggie McNeil says this, “Success can kill you just as problems can.” He is speaking about preachers, but I think you can put any occupation in there and say the same thing. Psychologists speak of “encore mentality;” always having to top your previous performance. So, if we are talking about our work situations, each subsequent year we have to work harder and longer and this often leads to burnout.

Prolonged over-commitment says to the world that success is great, but it can lead to dire consequences. It can detract from our personality, causing us to be irritable and inefficient at our jobs.

But most of all it can endanger our personal relationships, our marriages, our parenting and our friendships.

We often set out to save the world, but all too often, we do it at the expense of our families!

Delegating requires that we either let go of something or say "No" to something.

One of the lessons we all need to learn in life is what we are good at, what we are not good at, and how to differentiate. This is true at home, work, church, everywhere...

[continued tomorrow...]

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