Leadership Lessons with Papa Jethro: Part Three

As Christians, I believe we are each called to be leaders. Now some of us don’t like being in such a position and have no desire to be, but it doesn’t change the fact that we are leaders.

In light of this, I have been looking at a few lessons I picked up from Jethro’s conversation with Moses in Exodus 18:13-27. So far we have talked about leaders being those who listen and leaders as those willing to intercede for those they serve.

Lesson #3: Leaders Must Teach AND Model for Their Followers

“And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do.” Exodus 18:20

As a child, I hated morning. (Some things never change) But to make matters worse, I knew that every single morning I would walk into the kitchen and Grandpa would be slurping coffee from his dark brown mug and reading aloud from his tattered King James Bible.

When I was a kid, it seemed like torture. King Jimmy isn’t exactly kid friendly after all. Now that I’m older though, I return to it as not just a precious memory but also a reminder.

There was no question in our household that God was to be an important part of everyday life. It was essential to know the Word of God, and so why wouldn’t you start your day there. Prayer was also important and often I would watch Grandpa wander off into the forest behind the house and hear him crying out to God for himself and his family.

Grandpa was a leader and I was his shadow. I followed him when I could and watched him constantly. I was his “Sweetie Pie” and he was always teaching me and modeling to me a lifestyle built around faith and trust in God. Many of those lessons I find myself returning to over and over now that I’m an adult.

More Than Just a Demonstration

Up until this point Moses had handled all these problems on his own. People would come daily to him, tell about what was happening and he would one by one instruct them (Ex. 18:13-15). That’s not just a lot of responsibility, it’s exhausting and quite inefficient.

This is why it is important that teaching and modeling go together. Moses had instructed people about the laws of God, but they all needed to be taught and to be shown what it was to practically walk it out.

We have all heard it and probably agree that, “Actions speak louder than words.” Right?

Modeling is more than just demonstrating something It opens up dialogue. It invites questions. It says, “Let me come alongside you and walk this out with you until you are able to do this because I believe that you are capable of doing this too.”

Are You Investing?

Teaching and modeling both require lots of time when done well, but it is an investment in the future, an investment in others.

I am blessed that this is a focus in the ministry I volunteer with. Yes, I help students learn English by teaching them things like idioms and slang, but the bigger focus is modeling a lifestyle of living for Christ every day. Helping students move from a place of being fearful to speak to a place of helping to lead Bible study groups is more than enough reward for the time investment. Not only are they learning, but they are becoming leaders themselves and influencing others.

Can you think of someone who was a teacher and model for you? Maybe you could send them a note of thanks and let them know the influence they had on your life. What can you take from that and share with others?

How are you investing in the lives of those you lead? What are you modeling for them?