Delegation is Not a Sin.


Delegation is not a sign of laziness, but rather a great tool to leverage your leadership.

Delegation reveals your ability to leverage and multiply your reach and impact.

Every leader CAN delegate, by recognizing need, recognizing skills, and valuing people.

If someone does something better than you, delegate it.

If someone can do something close to as well as you, delegate it.

If someone has the potential to do something close to as well as you…train them and then delegate it.

Exodus 18 gives us a pattern on when delegation is needed and how to go about implementing it.

Are You Being Stretched Beyond Your Limit?

When we look at Exodus 18, Moses father-in-law, Jethro, observes Moses leadership method and recognizes that he is being stretched beyond his limit.  If you are feeling the strain in your leadership position it is probably because you aren’t dividing the work.

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.”

Recognize You Cannot Do it Alone

Moses is told that he is being stretched and if he continues at this pace he will break!  When he began to think he was the only one, not only was it tough on him, but it was “not good”.  Realize that you cannot and don’t have to do it alone and begin the process of finding who is capable of being a part of your leadership team.

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.

Don’t Stop the Train

Moses is told that just because he is stretched and cannot go it alone doesn’t mean that he stops doing what he is doing.  He continues to do his job and in time will bring the needed people on board that he should delegate to.  Don’t completely stop your project in order to delegate.  Instead find those people as you recognize needs, positions, and areas where you need help.

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.

Don’t Just Delegate To Anyone, Find the Best!

As Moses continued his job he began looking for “able men” that he could delegate to.  Sometimes we see a hole and immidately fill it with the first warm body that comes along.  As you assess skill you can appropriately delegate tasks and needs over “thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.”

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.

Delegation Frees you Up for Greater Productivity

Moses released many cases to his leaders and it allowed him to focus on “great matters” and they were able to share the burden with him. WHen you release people to lead tasks, greater productivity occurs overall and it allows you to produce, create, and develop with greater energy on the tasks you choose to focus on.

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.”

Leaders Hear good Advice and Act on It

Moses heard what his father in law said and saw truth in it.  He didn’t complain that he hadn’t thought of it first, or that some one was telling him how to lead.  Instead he received the wisdom and acted on it.

We are inundated with information.

Some information is good and some is bad.  Sifting through it and when you recognize good advice, act on it and make the changes that are necessary.

24 So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. 25 Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 26 And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves. 27 Then Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went away to his own country.


How do you decide which areas to delegate?  Do you delegate the areas that no one wants to do or ones that require more responsibly? 

16 thoughts on “Delegation is Not a Sin.

  • That story is one of my favorites. Moses thought he was doing the great thing. He wanted to do the work because he cared so much about the results. But he was ultimately doing an injustice to himself and to the people.

    • Thanks Loren,
      And J tells him pretty clearly….”this is not a good thing”. I love when the Bible comes alive in that way and you can see the person because we have been there! A great analogy to our own lives and attempts at productivity.

  • Great Biblical application that is more timely than ever. The micromanagers of the world are slowly killing themselves. I also think it gets easier to delegate as we get older. Good post.

    • Floyd,
      DO you say this out of experience under one or as one? Great point too probably because you have learned more, seen more, and now understand how important it can be. Thanks for the insights Floyd!

  • Hey David!
    I love this article. I think delegating is SO vital to success as a leader. The bottom line is that trying to do it all, at some point, will render you totally ineffective. And I also think that a big part of leadership is about equipping others to lead – delegation is a big part of doing that.

    Ironically, I think leaders have a hard time delegating.  I think it’s our nature and personality to want to spearhead and as a result control everything, so being aware of the need to delegate (and delegate early) as Dave described below is key.

    Nice work!

    • Marlee,
      Agreed. WE have created words like burnout and exhaustion to define leaders who cannot figure out this principle and unfortunately like you said its in a leaders nature to want to drive and control! It is def. a learning process. Great word Marlee!

  • I tend to delegate those things that don’t fall within my strengths or passions. I would rather spent my time focusing on what I’m good at than trying to do those things that drain me and that, quite frankly, I suck at. It would be better for me, better for the organization and better for those we interact with if I delegate those duties to someone else who is good at them.

    • Jason,
      feels like those words came straight out of Andy Stanleys book “Next Generation Leader” 🙂 If you haven’t read it yet, it was a decent read. He promotes exactly what you said about playing to your strengths and passions and surrounding yourself with people who can complement you in the other areas. Sounds like Ignite is better for is when you can empower others and you can maintain your sanity in the process.

  • Awesome points! So often we’re afraid to touch delegation for fear of how it appears, but you’ve done well to draw some great conclusions. I’ve never seen this Exodus passage as guidance for delegation, but it makes a lot of sense. Nice work, man.

    • Stephen,
      thanks man, great point about fear driving our resistance to delegate, and I am curious in your mind what would those appearances were afraid of look like to you?

  • Re: “Recognize You Cannot Do it Alone”
    Holding on to everything you can is a symptom of pride. If you need to be in control it’s probably a sign that either:
    1. You are finding your identity in the task instead of Christ
    2. You can’t trust God to equip, empower and motivate others
    3. You have an inflated perspective of your own value/ability (I struggle most with this)

    In such a situation delegating is a solution to sin.

    • Dave,
      thanks for the insights man. Great point. Trying to do it on your own reveals a prideful heart and I would agree you on your third point, we can have an inflated view of our own abilities. How have you seen this get worked out in your life? How is God working with you in this?

      • David,
        My problem is thinking that I’m somehow indispensable. God graciously gives an awareness of this attitude and a revulsion for it. Not perfectly, but we’re moving forward.

        • brother Dave!
          Your response is incredibly refreshing and genuine. From your blog its obvious your a bright dude with a love for God’s word and my faith has been encouraged through your words of not having it all figured out but pressing on and continually relying on God in the process!

  • Being able to delegate is so important for a leader. The Book of Acts is another example of the importance of delegating. When the disciples delegated the food distribution and other tasks so they could focus on preaching the Gospel. The Bible is full of example on the importance and benefits that come from delegating. Great post.

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