Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came to bring Moses’ wife and children to Moses after the children of Israel crossed the red sea and God freed them from the slavery in Egypt. Very quickly, Jethro saw something that moved him in such a way that he decided to approach Moses and talk to him about it face-to-face. Jethro saw Moses doing too, much work; like many leaders today; every problem was brought before Moses for him to decide what the wisdom of God was in these matters. For a nation of over three million people, no doubt that Moses was working himself directly into a heart attack or a major burn-out. Jethro gave Moses the following advice:
“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. 25 He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 26 They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.27 Then Moses sent his father-in-law on his way, and Jethro returned to his own country.” (Exodus 18:21-27) (NIV)
This sounded like a great advice; the characteristics of these men are the characteristics that we would like to have in any men working for and with us in ministry… right? They were to have the following characteristics:
- Capable men
- Men who fear God
- Men who hate dishonest gain
It seems like Moses had the help that he needed; it seems like now he was ready to go; it seems like everything was in place. But, in all these wonderful qualities; there was no mention of one key ingredient. You can have all these wonderful qualities with the people around you, but if you don’t have this one thing, you are setting yourself up for failure.