Leadership is often like being a new parent.
The first few days of a child’s life for the parent can be absolutely draining. I have been there twice! The overnight feedings, diaper changes, and seemingly incessant crying can drive any normal God-fearing person to insanity. The sleepless nights incur the chronic fatigue after the second day home. In those moments we beg God for relief. We ask for mercy on our souls. When grandma shows up the Hallelujah chorus erupts out of sheer excitement from within our hearts. The help is greatly needed and appreciated.
Moses had been chosen by God to lead the people out of Egypt. The people hated being slaves. Yet they were not too happy about how things were going even before leaving Egypt. After the plagues and the parting of the Red Sea, one would wonder what their problem is. If God can do all of that, then He can handle their needs. How easy it is for us to talk smack about a people unable to defend themselves. Let us not forget that for an entire year they had the same thing to eat 3 meals a day. It is no wonder that frustration and aggravation came.
10 Moses heard the people, family after family, crying at the entrance of their tents. The Lord was very angry; Moses was also provoked. 11 So Moses asked the Lord, “Why have You brought such trouble on Your servant? Why are You angry with me, and why do You burden me with all these people? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth so You should tell me, ‘Carry them at your breast, as a nursing woman carries a baby,’ to the land that You swore to [give] their fathers? 13 Where can I get meat to give all these people? For they crying to me: ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I can’t carry all these people by myself. They are too much for me. 15 If You are going to treat me like this, please kill me right now. If You are pleased with me, don’t let me see my misery [anymore].”
The Lord was angry and Moses was provoked. Did you notice? The families were whining that they had it better in Egypt. They craved the fish and other delights. The aggravation is heavy on Moses. He cannot carry the burden. He needs help. Leadership can be rewarding. Leadership can also be aggravating. The principle we learn from this passage is that we are not designed to do this alone. Moses was instructed to find 70 people who are well-known as leaders and officers. They would be set apart and put in charge.
24 Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. He brought 70 men from the elders of the people and had them stand around the tent. 25 Then the Lord descended in the cloud and spoke to him. He took some of the Spirit that was on Moses and placed [the Spirit] on the 70 elders. As the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they never did it again.
The fact that some of the Spirit would be passed to them reveals the importance God was placing on them in their assistance. We can learn an incredible lesson here: We cannot bear the burden alone. Leadership can be a lonely experience. Lack of delegation leads to insanity. Constantly keeping the plates spinning is a game that cannot be maintained. What God did is exactly what we are to do no matter the size of company or church: get help. God provided 70 extra people to do what Moses was doing. Let’s not forget that Moses already had an organized hierarchy of those who listened to 1000, 100, or 10 depending on skill. Here are 5 actions to continue as you lead people.
1. Evaluate – always be on the lookout for the next person who can help. Both the young and old have so much to offer if you are looking for it. The young have the energy and technology. The older have time and wisdom. Evaluate their sphere of interest in relation to your needs.
2. Engage – after the analysis of needs and evaluation of those around, spend some time building a relationship with them. Caution must be employed at this point to ensure that people don’t get used and abused. God’s blessing is dispensed in accordance to service. We engage them because we see God’s potential with them and wish to see God’s Kingdom develop. Love, beyond measure, must be involved authentically.
3. Express – the needs of your organization must be publicized. The analysis has been done so share the results.
4. Enlist – there will be a few who will step out and desire to provide their skill to fulfill the needs. More often I find that people need to have personal invitations. Go to those whom who have evaluated and share with them how they can help to fulfill God’s desires for them and for the organization.
5. Rinse and Repeat.
Leadership is a lot like parenting. The beginning is quite stressful and tiring, but you learn to manage. Once they start developing skills you can channel those skills to the entire household’s benefit. Just because you are a leader does not mean you have to lose your mind!