Leaders rarely need to carry the burden of leadership alone. Moses’ interaction with God in the story of the quail and the manna provides a model of shared leadership and sets the stage for the blessing of the Holy Spirit to empower all of us to play our parts…
16 The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.
3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
Isn’t this the truth? Leaders rarely need to carry the burden of leadership alone. There are creative opportunities to delegate and enable others to act if we can recognize the value of shared leadership and give up the idea that leadership is an island.
Moses felt a loneliness in leadership as the focal point of the Israelites’ frustrations. They were not satisfied with the manna God was providing to sustain them. They wanted to go back to their slavery because they couldn’t see a way forward. Inspiring the way forward is a role of leadership. God would provide quail to essentially bury them in the meat they desired so much. We can become sick on the very thing we desire so much…
God told Moses to get the 70 elders so that he could apportion his Spirit over them to help Moses carry the burdens of the people and to inspire them to look forward and not back. Growth pains are signs of growth. Ministry burdens are a sign that there is ministry happening.
As Moses shared his leadership with the elders, and also with the judges (Exodus 18), the Spirit is now upon the children of God to lead and bear the burdens of all the people. Just as Spirit-filled ministers were appointed to serve tables in Acts to ensure people were being served, the sharing of the load continues today. The difference is that all believers have a portion of the Spirit to be a part of God’s plan.
It takes a village to raise a village, and to inspire and lead a village forward. God doesn’t want us to give up or feel like we are alone. He grants us the Holy Spirit to empower us and he grants us co-labourers to shoulder the burdens.
Who are your co-labourers, and are you relying on yourself or the Spirit of God?