ANALYSIS OF JETHRO’S COUNSEL
So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you. If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace.” (Exodus 18:17-23).
I decided to revisit the advise of Jethro, Moses’s father-in-law because there is a wealth of knowledge in the counsel. The reason why many ministries have problems today is because the people have lost touch with the essence of life. Many leaders are not standing before God for the people. Many leaders are in the ministry because they have made it their source of blessing, They do not carry the burden of the people to the Lord because their own burden is heavy on them. To stand before God is to forget yourself and all your needs or aspirations. To stand before God is to constantly ask God for direction and what to do next. To stand before God for the people is to bring the needs of each person before God. The job of standing before God is enough to keep you busy all day especially if you have a large congregation. Then the next assignment of a leader is to teach the people God’s statutes and the laws. Teaching is a job that entails your dedication and your love for the people. You must be ready to sacrifice your time and energy to teaching them to know God, and to obey His statutes and laws. He also said the leader must show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. Showing them the way to walk means leading by example.Moses had a one on one encounter with the Lord, so he is in best position to show them the way to walk so that they would not incur the anger of the Lord through disobedience. I believe if leaders spend time constantly to teach the people the fear of the Lord, the consequences of sin, and the reward of obedience, there will be more sanity among our congregation. Therefore leaders have a lot of responsibilities towards their members.
Having gone through the characteristics of a leader from Jethro’s point of view, (and of God), Jethro went further to talk about what to look for in those people that he should select to lead. They must be able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness. These men must have integrity, that is, they say what they mean and mean what they say. They must fear only God and not man, speaking the truth even when it hurts, and hate covetousness, that is , they should not have a great desire to possess something belonging to someone else. These are the qualities of a great leader that is able to lead by example. How many people in our congregation today possess these qualities? Moses was indeed a great leader and was able to find the people to place in charge of thousands, hundreds, and tens so that the work of God could run smoothly. The people belong to God, the ministry or the church belong to God, therefore we need to stand before God in fear and trembling, asking for instruction and guidance in the way we should go, and help for leading his people to safe landing.We don’t want to serve Him in vain, we want to do everything to His pleasing. Those of us who are leaders must examine ourselves if indeed we are walking according to all that are written in the text above. If there is any area we are found wanting, we should make amends while we still have our breath. We know what is expected of us, therefore we should ask for God’s help to empower us to walk as He walked when He came to this world, because without holiness, no one shall see the Lord. Our garment must be white, spotless and blameless, and since some were able to achieve it, therefore we must endeavor too to be holy as He is holy. The Lord will keep us from falling in Jesus name. Amen. Remain in His Love.