I think I’ve made my case about burnout. To say it is bad news is quite an understatement. I could give you health statistics, Bible verses, and much more to convince you just how severe burnout is, but as I said, I think I’ve made my point. So, today, I want to focus on how to avoid burnout, and it all begins with Jethro’s advice to Moses.
Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do. Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace. So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said. - Exodus 18:19-24
I can literally summarize Jethro’s advice into a single word: delegate! Why do we see that as such a bad word? What makes us think that delegating is the same thing as shrugging our responsibilities onto someone else? Perhaps, like me, it’s because someone has “delegated” tasks to you, but they did it the wrong way. They didn’t ask; they assumed. They didn’t wait for your response; they took your silence as a “yes.” In essence, they didn’t delegate; they demanded. It’s not the same thing.
To delegate means to divide the work among several other workers who are willing and eager to help (and in the case of dealing with your children, sometimes those who are not so willing and eager). The old saying goes, “Many hands make light work.” That’s so true. If more people were truly doing their part, maybe there wouldn’t be so many like Moses who are on the edge of burnout. If more people volunteered, perhaps there wouldn’t be so much on the plates of those who do offer their services. It’s a matter of balance.
But here’s the thing: some people just aren’t the volunteering type. Some people aren’t leaders. They’re more than willing to help out, but they will need to be asked. Otherwise, they’ll just stand around and watch the workers. Moses had forgotten his primary role. He was a leader, but in this instance, he wasn’t leading, only doing. If we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves doing the same, and it’s completely unnecessary. Whether it be at home, in the workplace, at church or somewhere else, delegation can be a lifesaver and can keep you from driving yourself into the ground. It isn’t a sign of weakness or immaturity. On the contrary, it is the mark of a good leader.