Delegating is a Leadership Virtue

“There is no virtue in doing more than our fair share of work,” writes J. Oswald Sanders in his classic book, Spiritual Leadership. Some of the best leadership counsel in the Bible came from Moses father-in-law Jethro. 

According to Exodus chapter 18, when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What’s going on here? Why are you doing all this, and all by yourself, letting everybody line up before you from morning to night?” Then Jethro told Moses that if he continued working the way he was, he would burn out, and so would the people of Israel right along with him. Moses was trying to do too much of the work himself. Jethro reminded Moses that his primary job was to teach the people God’s rules for them and to show them how to live. Then he suggested Moses look for men of integrity who feared God and appoint them as leaders over groups of a thousand, a hundred, fifty and ten. Delegate all the routine judiciary work to these leaders, freeing Moses to focus on the hard cases.

A profoundly wise and insightful Christian leader, Sanders understood, “It is a mistake to assume more duties than we can adequately and satisfactorily discharge. It is good to be able to recognize and accept our own limitations.” Leaders who have spiritual depth also have delegation depth. 

Any leader, according to Sanders, who fails to delegate is “enmeshed in a morass of secondary detail that not only overburdens him but deflects him from his primary responsibilities.” Delegation is a necessary priority for any leader intending to maximize his or her effectiveness. 

(Spiritual Leadership by Oswald Sanders, Moody Publishers, paperback edition re-released 2007)   

adapted by Gary D. Foster
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Gary D. Foster founded and leads Gary D. Foster Consulting, a marketing and management service specializing in helping religious product companies and ministries discover and optimize new revenue streams and to better leverage existing ones. He served as an executive with Focus on the Family, where he managed their award-winning book publishing operation and $110 million direct-mail fundraising division. He also spent 12 years with the Christian Booksellers Association, where he served as President and CEO of CBA Service Corporation. He also served in executive product development and marketing positions with Cook Communications Ministries, Moody Press and Moody Magazine. Learn more about Gary at