Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform. Exodus 18:19-20
A godly leader is someone called by God with the ability to cast a clear vision and provide direction and guidance to others through his or her example and influence. Godly leaders must lead in a manner that honors the Lord and accomplishes His purposes in the earth realm.
Moses is an example of a godly leader. He was called by God and was able to cast a clear vision of the Promised Land to the people. He guided and directed them through the wilderness all the way to the Jordan River where he then passed the leadership baton to Joshua. Moses’ success was due in part to the guidance of his father-in-law, Jethro, who witnessed him in action and rebuked him for his bad leadership. Moses demonstrated a lack of clarity of his leadership responsibilities by taking too much upon himself. His leadership approach would have caused burnout and frustration for the people thus hindering the success of the mission. Led by the Spirit, Jethro instructed Moses on his responsibilities and the most effective way to carry them out.
Let us glean from the instructions that Jethro gave Moses so we can apply them to our lives:
- Stand before God for the people – Godly leaders must intercede before God on behalf of their employees and those they are responsible for. They must make intercession for them on matters of their spiritual growth, family life, and social and financial development. They must plead their cases before God as Moses did for the children of Israel. They must not attempt to handle difficult matters themselves but rather take them before the Lord for guidance, instruction and wisdom.
- Cast the vision – God always provides His leaders with a clear revelation of the vision. Vision is the ultimate goal that the Lord has given you. It is what you aspire to become. God gave Moses a clear vision of the Promised Land. A godly leader must provide the people with clear direction of where they are going. The Bible states that without vision the people perish. People cannot follow a leader who is unclear of where he/she is going. Godly leaders must be able to clearly communicate the vision so others can run with it.
- Provide the people with direction and guidance – Casting a clear vision is not sufficient to ensure effective leadership; the people need to be guided and directed. Godly leaders must be able to teach the people how to realize the vision and equip them with the tools necessary to carry out their responsibilities. Moses often found the people discouraged or becoming impatient with the journey. He had to constantly direct and guide them so they could stay the course.
- Raise up others – Godly leaders are not permanent nor eternal. As great as Moses was, he could not go all the way to the Promised Land; he had to pass the baton to someone else who would become responsible for continuing the journey. What if Moses had not raised up Joshua? A key responsibility for godly leaders is to duplicate themselves. You must raise others by delegating responsibilities to them based on their abilities. Trust them to handle those responsibilities and support them in those areas where they are weak.
- Oversee the work – The ultimate responsibility for the success of the organization always rests on the leader who must be accountable to God for the outcome. Godly leaders must provide oversight to ensure that the work is being accomplished according to plan. Although others such as Aaron were called to co-labor with Moses, the ultimate responsibility rested on Moses. As a godly leader, the ultimate responsibility rests with you. You must be prepared to give an account to God.