WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 26, 2023
TOPIC: DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY
BY T. O. BANSO
“So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field” (Genesis 39:5 New King James Version).
Delegation of authority is the process whereby a superior transfers responsibility for a task to a subordinate who reports to him. In government, it is called power decentralization.
Nobody can do everything. And anybody who tries to do that will only harm himself and may suffer burnout in no distant time. There are times it is necessary to delegate authority, and nobody should shy away from this. But some people find it difficult to delegate because they don’t want to lose control or they feel the work will not be done to their satisfaction or their own way. Such people overwork themselves and some people like this have learnt their lessons the hard way. People must acknowledge that there could be different legitimate approaches to achieving a goal and not think that everyone will do things their way.
To avoid someone overburdening himself with more work than he can handle, which hinders effectiveness, delegating authority is appropriate. This helps to reduce the workload of the superior. It enables him to concentrate on more important things and, thus, become more effective.
Delegation of authority is also beneficial to the subordinate as it helps him to develop himself. He can use his gifts, talents, and skills as he carries out the responsibilities assigned to him. Consequently, it enhances organizational productivity.
However, as it is often said, you can delegate authority but you cannot delegate accountability. Some use the word responsibility instead. Accountability or responsibility still lies with the delegator. He will be held accountable or responsible by the person who gives him the authority he has delegated. However, a delegation of authority does not work in all cases because of some factors, including inexperience or incompetence of the delegatee. Therefore, not all tasks should be delegated.
In Genesis 39:4-6, Potiphar delegated authority over his house to Joseph with the exemption of his wife (verse 9). Verse 5 says, “So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field” (New King James Version). The delegation worked. The report would have been different if authority was delegated to the wrong person.
We see the same positive result in the prison where the keeper of the prison delegated his authority to Joseph. Genesis 39:22-23 says, “And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it prosper” (New King James Version).
Joseph also told Pharaoh to look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt and appoint overseers in charge of the land to exact one-fifth of the produce of the land during the seven years of abundance (Genesis 41:33-34). Pharaoh took this advice and put Joseph in charge of the land of Egypt. He delegated his authority to him and made him his second-in-command (verses 42-44). This delegation of authority was successful and saved the whole world from hunger during the seven years of famine.
In Exodus 18:14-23, Jethro, the priest of Midian and Moses’ father-in-law, taught him the principle of delegated authority. Having watched how Moses sat down from morning till evening, judging the people alone, he told him that what he was doing was not good. He said both Moses and the people with him would surely wear themselves out as the work was too much for him to perform alone.
Jethro then taught him to, using certain criteria, select leaders who would share with him the responsibility of judging the people. They would handle every small matter and bring to him only every great matter. Thus, as they bore the burden with Moses, things would be easier for him. Moses took the advice of Jethro. You should delegate authority when you consider it proper. Don’t kill yourself!
Still in Numbers 11:10-30, Moses complained about the burden of the people. God took some of the Spirit that was on Moses and put it on the seventy elders of Israel so that they could bear with him the burden of leadership. Also in Deuteronomy 1:9-18, Moses referred to how he took the leading men of the tribes of Israel, wise and respected men, and appointed them to have authority over the Israelites as commanders of thousands, hundreds, the fifties and tens, and as tribal officials because they were too heavy a burden for him to carry alone. If your burden is too heavy for you alone to carry, would you consider delegating authority? Make sure you decide wisely.
In the New Testament, Jesus gave authority to His twelve disciples over unclean spirits, diseases, and afflictions (Matthew 10:1). Mark 6:7 says He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. Verses 12-13 show that this delegation of authority was effective. “So they went out and preached that people should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them” (New King James Version).
Christians have the same delegated authority from Jesus today. We are to act in His name. “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20 New King James Version).
Jesus also said in Mark 16:17-18, “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (New King James Version).
In Acts 6:1-6, the apostles appointed seven deacons who would be given the responsibility of waiting on tables so that they could spend their time in prayer and teaching the word. After the deacons had been appointed, verse 7 says that the word of God spread, the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. Where delegation of authority works, positive results are evident.
What should you delegate? Delegated responsibility (task) should go with delegated authority – the power to carry out the responsibility. Delegate what others can do well, and do what only you can do. Delegate tasks that are not too sensitive. Delegate what will distract you from what is more important.
Paul wrote to Titus: “The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you” (Titus 1:5 New International Version). If authority has been delegated to you, don’t abuse it. Be faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). Be obedient (Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13-14; Titus 3:1). Stay within the bounds of your authority; know the limit of your authority. Be humble. Learn from Satan’s pride. He wanted to raise his throne above the stars of God but he was cast down to the earth (Isaiah 14:12-17). Furthermore, always give feedback to the person who delegated authority to you as the disciples of Jesus did in Mark 6:30 and Luke 10:17. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from him if you need it.
Delegation is not the same thing as abdication. Since accountability cannot be delegated, the delegator must monitor or check on the delegatee and render help when it is needed.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to make the right decisions about delegation of authority. Help me to overcome whatever makes delegation of authority difficult for me. I shall not abuse the authority delegated to me. I shall be a faithful steward in Jesus’ name.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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