Control is not something that I am willing to give up very easily. I am usually the one who drives, the one who is out the door first, and the one who says, “I got it” whenever someone asks if I need help. Ever since I can remember I am the one who takes the lead, and the one who is first to jump in and get the job done. My excuse for having the need to be in control all the time is “if I don’t do it no one else will.” The need to be in control is usually a character trait found in most leaders and in those who have a desire to lead. It is part of who we are. We see it; we just don’t understand why no one else does. But, I have been learning, not only in my business, but in my ministry as well that God is the ultimate one in control. One of the most recent lessons I have learned about control is that my unwillingness to it give up is an indicator that my trust is not in His ability, but in my own. He is teaching me that eventually, to be a good leader, you have to be willing to give up control.
In Exodus 18 Moses’ father in law comes for a visit. He spends some time with Moses and gets to know his son in law all over again. They have been a part for awhile, so Jethro was probably amazed at the man he had become. When Moses left Midian he was a young man stepping out in faith that the God of the Hebrews had called him to be a leader to his people. Now, sitting before Jethro was a man whom God has used mightily to smite the Egyptians and to bring the people out of bondage into the promise of a new and living hope. But Jethro notices something about Moses and tells him that he is going to wear himself out if he does not ask for some help. Moses, a leader called by God, does what all leaders do- he doesn’t ask for help. He’s got it.
In verse 14 Jethro goes to work with Moses. He follows him into his ministry and watches Moses, complaint after complaint, need after need minister to the people of Israel. He watches him give counsel, pray with the people, and do all the aspects of the day to day ministry. When Jethro sees this he asks Moses what he is doing and why he is doing it?
“What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?” And Moses said to his father in law, ‘Because the people come to me to inquire of God; when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and His laws.’ Moses’ father in law said to him, ‘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 will not be able to do it alone.”
Exodus 18:14-18 ESV
Exodus 18:14-18 ESV
Jethro sees what Moses is doing and tells him that if he does not ask for help he is going to be get burnt out and then he will be no help to anyone at all. Our need for control reveals in us a lack of trust in God. According to Romans 12:4-8 we have all been given gifts and a purpose in the body of Christ, but our desire to remain in control blinds us to those God is raising up around us to help us so that we don’t get burnt out. Moses was so busy trying to do it all on his own that he could not see the men God was raising up to come alongside him and help him. A good leader leads and trains and directs those whom God raises up around them.
When I led Children’s Ministry I had a hard time letting go of any responsibility. Unfortunately this left me feeling overwhelmed and drained all the time. I was rarely any use to anyone because I was always the first one to arrive and the last one to leave. I never asked for help. Then, God, in His great wisdom gave me these four powerful words. Duplicate, don’t just delegate. I needed to open my eyes and see the men and women God was raising up around me so that I could teach them and train them in the way that we should go. God never calls any of us into ministry, or into business alone. He might call us to lead it, but He will never let us do it alone. As leaders we are to direct and lead the men and women God has brought to us, they are to go and do. Isn’t that what Jesus did? He taught the disciples and then told them to go? (Matthew 28:19-20) We have to trust God that He has given us these people and that He will lead them and guide them just as He isleading and guiding us. We have to trust God in His ability and not be so determined in our own.
“Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide for themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with 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: 19-23 ESV
Exodus 18: 19-23 ESV
God has placed in the body all around you men and women who are gifted for the sole purpose of helping you. God has placed around me men and women who are able to come alongside me in the business, and God has also placed women around me who are gifted to help in my ministry. Some do both, some help in the business and the ministry, some help through prayer, some serve alongside me day after day, but each one of them uses the gifts that God has given them so that I can do the things that God is asking me to do.
Jethro tells Moses to look at the men that God has been raising up, that God has been growing right before his eyes. Some will lead thousands, some hundreds and some a few, but they are right there before his eyes, he just needs to open them. We must trust that God has called these people and gifted them to help us. We don’t have to have complete control over every detail.
If God has brought us to it, my friend, take comfort, He will bring us through it.
Moses was trying to do it all on his own. But he was very close to being burnt out. We cannot shine as lights in a dark world if we let our flames go out because we didn’t trust God with the people He brought to help us.
As we grow in business or in ministry we have to be able to let go of some of the little things and focus on the big things. Jethro shows Moses how his need to be in control will harm the people in the long run because he will get so overwhelmed he won’t be any good to anyone. God has distributed gifts among His people so that we all can have a place and a purpose in this life, in this body and in the true Ministry of Jesus Christ. As leaders, and as business owners, we have to be willing to trust God enough to bring people to help us, and trust that He has given them the gifts that we need, as well as the gifts the people need. We can’t be everything to everyone all the time. Trust, pray, obey and know that God will bring to you those whom He has gifted. Trust that the same God who brought you to this will bring you the people you need to bring you through it. Amen.