Teaching Trust

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Teaching Trust

Exodus 18:13–27

The next day Moses sat as judge for the people, while the people stood around him from morning until evening. 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, while all the people stand around you from morning until evening?” Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. When they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make known to them the statutes and instructions of God.” Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. You will surely wear yourself out, both you and these people with you. For the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. Now listen to me. I will give you counsel, and God be with you! You should represent the people before God, and you should bring their cases before God; teach them the statutes and instructions and make known to them the way they are to go and the things they are to do. You should also look for able men among all the people, men who fear God, are trustworthy, and hate dishonest gain; set such men over them as officers over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Let them sit as judges for the people at all times; let them bring every important case to you, but decide every minor case themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people will go to their home in peace.”

So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said. Moses chose able men from all Israel and appointed them as heads over the people, as officers over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. And they judged the people at all times; hard cases they brought to Moses, but any minor case they decided themselves. Then Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went off to his own country.

Philippians 1:15–21

Some proclaim Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. These proclaim Christ out of love, knowing that I have been put here for the defense of the gospel; the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but intending to increase my suffering in my imprisonment. What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice.

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance. It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain.

Most people today are not taught to trust. Instead they are taught to look out for themselves.Tweet: Most people today are not taught to trust. Instead they are taught to look out for themselves. In some pockets of the world, they are taught to believe that nameless, faceless governmental bodies will give them an allowance, but because they remain nameless and faceless, it is not really trust.[1] We only know how to use others to get by.

That is the main difference between good team leaders and micromanaging supervisors. They can set up the same meetings, assign the same duties, even use the same evaluation processes. In the end, one type of leader invests in the people themselves, while the other simply moves them around to get a job done. One teaches trust. The other teaches distrust.

Micromanager is the derogatory term for someone who has trouble giving up control to others. One place I am a micromanager is in teaching beginner piano lessons. It might seem kinder to let my students (elementary and middle school children) just do their best and congratulate them on their efforts without being critical of their performance. However, I know from personal experience, that mistakes that go uncorrected become habits over time, and those habits actually hold you back from being able to play well later on in your development. In places where skill is low, leaders need to pay more attention to detail – not for the sake of the performance, but for the sake of developing those who work with them.

However, if the values and overall mission are not communicated because we spend too much time fussing over the details, those who work with us will become frustrated easily and not have any motivation or understanding of the value of their work. Some details we have to let go, for the sake of moving forward. It’s not just a balancing act, it is making sure we are using our various leadership tools for intentional purposes, instead of just defaulting to whatever bad habits we may have become comfortable ourselves.

Moses learned not to micromanage from Jethro, his father-in-law, and from his own personal frustration leading Israel. Paul, was not given the chance to micromanage. He was run out of most of the cities he planted churches in. His only means of communicating with those churches was through letter correspondence sent from his prison cells through his visitors. Paul not only had to trust the people he chose to lead after him, he had to learn to trust God to work through those he did not choose and had no control over.

The truth at the heart of this struggle is that we are never completely in control, but God is. It may not be easy or natural to relinquish control of the very things we are responsible for. It is the paradox of being responsible while relinquishing control. Or is it a paradox after all?

What are your top responsibilities?

What do you struggle most to give up control over?

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  1. There may have been a slight change toward trusting a person during the Presidency of Obama, because he was racially distinct from former presidents… however, I do not get the impression that anyone else in his administration was trusted. The evidence of this is the 2016 election, where Hilary Clinton could not win the trust of the people, even the democratic party, but was instead split with Burney Sanders, who was not part of Obama’s working team.  ↩

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