The Best Advice a Father Has Ever Heard

Jun 04, 2024

What's the best advice your father ever gave you? There was a time in my life when I was overworking and stressed out, and I was telling my dad about everything I was dealing with. Instead of telling me how to fix the issues, he told me I needed to get away. I wanted solutions, but his advice was to take a vacation. Dad said that if I got away, when I came back, my mind would be fresh, and I could deal with things in a healthy way. He was right. I took a vacation (without the kids!!) and when I got back, I realized that the "big problems" weren't so big after all. 

Good fathers have a way of giving good advice. In Exodus 18, Moses got the best advice a father could ever give. It was actually his father-in-law, but the advice is as good as gold, and I think it's probably relevant to your life today.

In Exodus 18, Moses was struggling with overworking himself. He was trying to shepherd his people well, but the system he set up made him the only judge in town. He was helping the people resolve issues, but he was working from sun up to sun down, and at the end of the day, thousands more were looking to him for help. Can you relate?  

13 The next day, Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. 14 When Moses' father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, "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?" 15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, "Because the people come to me to inquire of God; 16 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." 17 Moses' father-in-law said to him, "What you are doing is not good. 18 You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone." (Exodus 18:13-18)

Leadership Principle #1: Some can SEE problems, Leaders SOLVE problems.

Many of us are really good at spotting problems. We have 2020 vision when it comes to issues with our business, spouse, or kids. We know the problems, but God isn't seeking problem spotters, He's seeking problem solvers. 

It doesn't take a leader to spot a problem, but it most definitely takes a leader to fix the problem. This is true for your business, your church, and your ministry. Here's the truth: if you want to make an impression at work, don't just complain to your boss and coworkers about the problems you see. Offer ideas on how to fix them! Don't just spot the problems in your marriage. Talk to your spouse about ways to resolve them and grow through the situation. 

Jethro, Moses's father-in-law, identified the problem in Moses's management style. He could see that Moses was heading down the road to burnout because he was working too hard and taking on too much. 

Leadership Principle #2: Some want to do it ALL, Leaders provide STRUCTURE so that ALL get it done.

19 "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, 20 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. 21 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. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 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) 

One of the most significant issues I coach pastors about is that they do too much. They try to be superman at their church and don't involve the people in the church to serve. Business leaders have a similar problem. They do too much work and don't entrust others to help. Leaders need to realize that in order to continue to grow their business or church, they have to let go of control and let others lead.

Jethro reminded Moses that his primary responsibility was to teach the people to obey God and bring their cases before the LORD. He needed to focus on the things that could not be delegated. Less serious disputes could be handled by someone else. Jethro encouraged him to create a structure that would include more people to carry the burden.  

Some of the greatest advice we could receive as Dads is this: You shouldn't try to do it all or do it alone. Why? Because, as men, we think we can do it all. I can fix that problem. I don't need help. I can do more. I don't need friends. I don't need God. But the biblical principles in this story teach us the exact opposite. God didn't intend for you to do all the work alone. A healthy leader knows they need to develop other people around them to help carry the burden of work.  

Jethro tells Moses to invite other people to share the responsibility. He tells Moses to build a team of men who fear the LORD and care more about pleasing God than men. Men who are not greedy and would not sell him out for money. Men Moses could rely on. Men he could trust to do what they said they would. As a result, things will become easier for Moses. He will no longer bear the burden alone. God will guide him and bless his efforts. 

What Moses learned was delegation. It is how we build successful businesses and great churches. Ultimately, healthy leadership is shared leadership. This is true in the church, in your business, and at home.  

So, what do you need to stop doing and delegate to someone else? Instead of creating a "to-do list," maybe you need to create a "STOP-DOING LIST." What if you built a team around you to get things done? If you don't change the way you are doing things, it could impact your health and future growth.


Sign up for the TSL 5 Newsletter

Bi-weekly resources delivered to your inbox.