Deuteronomy 1:9-18 – When You Try to Hold Onto Something, You May Be Holding Someone Else Back

Posted: November 26, 2016 in 05-Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy 1:9-18

Moses Appoints Leaders from Each Tribe

When the Lord put it on our house that it was the right time to sell our house and, instead of trying to sell it FSBO, to use a real estate agent to do it, He had put a vision in my heart that our house should go to a family that could use the full square footage of our house on Holly Tree Circle. He had put it on my heart that it should go to a family with young children. Lo and behold! That was exactly what happened. We sold our house to a couple in their mid-thirties who had three children, a girl and two boys. According to Liliya, their mother, the two boys were going to get the larger bedroom upstairs and the girl would get her own room, the smaller bedroom upstairs.


When we owned that house (and we loved that house), we hardly ever used the upstairs. It was rare. It was rarely used regularly. The only time in the six years that we were there that the upstairs portion of that house was used with any frequency was when Taylor, after moving out of her mom’s house, and Meghan, during a separation from her husband (whom I am glad to say they reconciled their marriage), lived with us temporarily before they get their apartment together. The only other time that the upstairs got used was when Michelle, my stepdaughter, would come down from Charlotte for a visit for a day or two or three here and there. Otherwise, it was just space to fill with furniture. It was just additional furniture for Elena to dust. It was just additional carpet to be vacuumed. The house was not living up to its full potential. I say that even though we loved dearly loved that house and its huge lot and its modern conveniences and its simple but elegant beauty. It was a tough decision to sell it. I loved it and part of me wanted to keep it. Part of me still misses that house. However, as I said before, we were not using it to its fullest extent.


That voice of the Holy Spirit in my heart said to me that by us continuing to live there, we were preventing some young family with kids from having the house that they needed. I imagined a family of five living in a cramped apartment that was ready for a house and was looking for a house but could not find “the one”, the house that strikes an instant emotional bond with a buyer and it is always the wife that must have this emotional bond. It was true with this family that bought our house. Liliya fell head over heels in love with our house immediately. They made us an offer after only having the house on the market for five days. Now, the house on Holly Tree Circle is living up to what it was meant for. It is a great home for a family with kids. It has enough room for the kids to be upstairs has plenty of family space downstairs. The master suite is downstairs so the parents can have some privacy from their kids. It has a big backyard for the kids to run around and play in. It has that wooden privacy fence all around the backyard so Lililya and her husband do not have to worry about the kids when they are out back playing. It is and will be the perfect house for them while these kids are young and maybe all the way up to the kids been in their early teens. By releasing our house, we allowed the family that needs to live there to live there.


That idea of blocking the potential of others because you want to keep what you have, to yourself, was what I thought of when I read today’s passage, Deuteronomy 1:9-18. Let’s read it together now:


9 At that time I said to you, “You are too heavy a burden for me to carry alone. 10 The Lord your God has increased your numbers so that today you are as numerous as the stars in the sky. 11 May the Lord, the God of your ancestors, increase you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised! 12 But how can I bear your problems and your burdens and your disputes all by myself? 13 Choose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you.”


14 You answered me, “What you propose to do is good.”


15 So I took the leading men of your tribes, wise and respected men, and appointed them to have authority over you—as commanders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens and as tribal officials. 16 And I charged your judges at that time, “Hear the disputes between your people and judge fairly, whether the case is between two Israelites or between an Israelite and a foreigner residing among you. 17 Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid of anyone, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too hard for you, and I will hear it.” 18 And at that time I told you everything you were to do.


It was a tremendous burden for Moses to lead the nation by himself. He could not accomplish the task single-handedly. As nations, organizations, and churches grow, they become increasingly complex. Conflicting needs and quarrels arise. No longer can one leader make all the decisions. Like Moses, we may have a natural tendency to try to do all the work alone. We may be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. Moses made a wise decision to share leadership with others. Rather than trying to handle larger responsibilities on our own, we should look for ways to share the load with others so that they, too, may exercise their God-given talents, gifts, and abilities.


When we are afraid to let go of some of our leadership responsibilities you could be hampering not only your own leadership but also hindering the development of the next level of leaders or potential leaders. You could be preventing them from flourishing as God intended for them. You could be preventing them from flourishing where God has planted them. Who are we to stand in the way of God’s development of His next crop of leaders? Are you holding someone else’s growth track back? Are you hindering God’s will for your life through your own pride or fear? When we do that, we are not in God’s will and He will not bless our leadership. When we are trying to do it all, is it not a pride thing? Are you afraid that you will fade into the woodwork if someone more talented is placed on your team? Are you afraid to let go of all the duties you have just so you will feel needed? That’s not a God thing. That’s a burnout waiting to happen. That’s us trying to do things in our own power.


Maybe, if there is someone on your team now that is more talented in this area of responsibility than you, maybe it is God’s way of telling you to start investing in them so that they can take over. God will never leave a leader without something to lead. Maybe it is God’s way of telling you that it is time for the next adventure. Maybe, God is saying that you are ready for your next challenge. But if we don’t see it that way and we try to hold on to what we have, you may be standing in the way of what God has in store for you and what He has in store for others. Do you really want to be that way? Give it away and see your abilities grow. When we get mired in the details of holding on to our position we miss that we may be being freed up to see the big picture. We have talent on our team to give responsibilities to, we can start being visionary instead of being tied down to task accomplishment. When we give it away it comes back to us. When we let our people become what they can become, we can lead, really lead. We can look at what’s coming and plan for it. We can come up with new ideas when we are not tied down to the details of what has always been done. We can think out of the box now when we have people we can give responsibilities to.


It is like my wife and I staying in the Holly Tree Circle house for another year. It would have prevented this family that needed our house from living in it. It would have prevented the house from being fully utilized to its fullest potential. Now we have moved on the Mill Village in our cute little house and we feel like God has called us there. This house is just right for us and it is what God has next for us. And there’s a family enjoying our previous home because it is what is next for them.


Amen and Amen.

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