Tag Archives: Exodus 18

Valleys and Mountains of Experience

My daughter loves to sketch and paint. She has a lot of talent. Yes, I’m biased but you can look for yourself. Talent can get you so far in life, but experience is always necessary. God gives us all talents, but He also takes us through many experiences in life to grow us to properly use our talent.

In Exodus 18 and Deuteronomy 1, we read of the leader selection process in the Old Testament. Listed character traits include those who fear God, who are honest, who are wise, who are understanding, and who are EXPERIENCED. The wisdom and the understanding comes as we continue to fear God and walk with Him. The experiences of life, the dark valleys and high mountains of life that God leads us through, teach us and stretch us. It is through experience that we become more capable.

Each of us are leaders. We are created to be leaders. But we aren’t where we are meant to be in life, and we certainly aren’t the leaders we could be to those we lead. Allow God to use you where you are at right now. Keep your ears and eyes open. Ask for Him to use you. Don’t be selective. Allow the Spirit to lead you. Serve where He places you. Soak up the experience. Glean from what He has placed before you. God wants to teach you. He wants to raise you up. Don’t let yourself get in the way. To be a better leader in your home, at church, in your workplace, on the field, you need to humble yourself as a servant of Christ, and forever remember that He both qualifies you and places you. Always stay focused on Him; always point to Him.

“But select capable men from all the people–men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain–and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.” – Exodus 18:21 [NIV]

“Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.” – Deuteronomy 1:13 [ESV]

 

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All Alone

Jethro gave his son-in-law some great advice. When he saw Moses before the people all day, he asked what really was being accomplished. Moses was getting worn out by handling everything all day. This would eventually wear the people out as well. We aren’t meant to handle everything alone, nor to do everything. Jethro shared with Moses the importance of delegation.

I have always been a person who likes to take things on; I love a good challenge. But God has shown me that I was meant for specific things, and this is the same for you. Each person is capable of greater things through Christ; however, we are not promised that we can withstand an impossible work schedule. Philippians 4:13 doesn’t say that He’s going to provide strength for us to do things we aren’t meant to be doing. From the very beginning, God displayed the importance of rhythmic balance in life- time for movement and time for rest. If you take on everything, if you live your life as a “yes person,” you will wear out and you will wear out the people around you. If you don’t allow others around you to help, you are not following God’s design for the body of Christ to be fulfilled in your life. Each of us fit perfectly together when we each are doing what we’re made to do in harmony with our brothers and sisters.

Today, take time to consider your home life, work life, and church life. Look at your schedule. Are you doing too much? Do you have time for rest? Are you taking on things that others could be doing? Whenever you say “yes” to something, it takes away from another person’s opportunity to do that activity and grow. You can take away the possibility of someone serving in an area because you take their spot. Also consider who you are mentoring. Who are you investing in, to share your wisdom, to encourage the next generation? If you are keeping it all for yourself, what legacy are you leaving? We are to be planting seeds, not harboring them. Remember friends, loving people includes seeking out the best for them. A huge part of this is encouraging and empowering them to do what God created for them. This glorifies God.

“When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he asked, ‘What are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?… You’re going to wear yourself out–and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself… They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you. If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.’” – Exodus 18:14, 18, 22-23 [NLT]

Heard about Everything

When Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came for a visit, he had “heard about everything God has done.” This verse isn’t a verse people usually post as the big motivational verse. This isn’t the life-changing verse for most people. But look at it closely. This man had heard what God did for Moses and the Israelites. He heard. To hear, someone must have shared. Not only was someone sharing, but they were sure to mention that “the LORD had rescued them from Egypt.”

This verse speaks volumes about what we should be speaking about with others—how our gift of gab or our social media savvy can help point people to Jesus. Someone who wasn’t able to see how God moved in mighty ways to rescue His people, still heard about what had happened. People gave God the glory. People spoke of the great things God had done. People heard about everything from those willing to share their testimony.

Today, understand that you have a great testimony to share. You might think it’s not as grand as the parting of the Red Sea. Don’t overthink things my friends. Every person has a testimony; each testimony is important. John ended his book to tell us that the world could not contain all that could be written about the works of Jesus (John 21:25). We each have a part to share. Our testimony is a blessing. Our testimony is a gift. Our testimony needs to be shared. Share today. Remember your testimony is not only meant to be kept in your head to remind you of how God acted, but to share with others who desperately need to meet Jesus.

“Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, heard about everything God had done for Moses and his people, the Israelites. He heard especially about how the LORD had rescued them from Egypt. – Exodus 18:1 [NLT]

Sitting Alone

Sitting Alone

Sitting alone sucks. I remember when I was going through a tough period in life I pushed people away and tried to sit alone. The problem is we are communal—God created us as beings who need community to thrive. We need God and we need people. No wonder God tells us the greatest commands: Love God and love others.

Life cannot be lived alone. We need others for fellowship, for guidance, for encouragement, and for support. We need others to do life with and there is no way to deny this truth. When you are at home, at work, at church, at school—wherever you are in life, you need others and God brings people into your life for His great purposes.

Moses was trying to do everything alone. He was sitting around all day judging the people. It was too much. Not only was he going to wear himself out, but he was going to wear the other people out as well. Today let us look at the different areas of our own lives. Are we taking on too much and wearing out ourselves and those around us? Are we sitting alone trying to take on the whole world by ourselves? Do we allow others to help? Do we struggle to keep ourselves afloat? If you are sitting alone struggling, reach out. If you see others struggling as well, reach out. No one should be sitting alone.

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? …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.’”

Exodus 18:14, 18 [ESV]

Hard-Pressed Relief Outline

Hard-Pressed Relief

2 Corinthians 8:13-14 – “For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.” (ESV) BURDEN & EASE

If one member of the body suffers – all suffer – 1 Corinthians 12:26

Burden causes fatigue, struggle, drowning—become overwhelmed & even angry

Yet we are to “Serve with gladness” – Psalm 100:2

  • Delegation – You Cannot Do Everything
  1. Jethro & Moses (Exodus 18)
  2. Seven chosen for distribution including Stephen & Philip (Acts 6)
    1. Good reputation / Full of Spirit / Full of wisdom
    2. Know gifts / don’t serve in all areas – serve where you can give your all
    3. Not burdened that others may live at ease. Remember Exodus 16:18 – Manna was gathered and there was “nothing left over” and there was “no lack.” Each one gathered as much as they could eat.
  • Recognize Burden – Take Note When You Are Drowning & Speak Up
    1. Moses says: “I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me” [Numbers 11:14 ESV]
    2. “Gather for me seventy of the elders… and I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone.” [v. 16-17 ESV]
    3. Two is Better Than One [Ecclesiastes 4:9-12] – “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a three-fold cord is not quickly broken.”(ESV)
  • Jesus Above All
    1. Guard the Gospel [2 Timothy 1:12-14] “Which is why I suffer as I do. But I’m not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what he has entrusted to me. Following the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” (ESV)
    2. Keep aware not to take away from another’s walk. Equip. Empower.

Ephesians 4:15-16 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (ESV)

Download Hard-Pressed Relief Outline from Dropbox

Doing All This

Jethro asked Moses, “Why are you doing all this, and all by yourself…” Has anyone said that to you in the past? Have you asked this of yourself recently? Today we live in a society of busyness so I have asked this of others and of myself again and again.

We have to remind ourselves often that we cannot do everything. God has given us each a special gift and a special calling that should be at the top of the list. With Him as our top priority, what He has purposed us for should be of utmost importance.  But we have this desire to do everything. We want to have our hands in everything. The problem is that if our hands are in everything, they are too weak to hold onto what must have our attention. We cannot be really good in one area if we are spread out thin.

Jethro noticed that Moses was going to burn out himself and the people who looked to him for leadership and direction. He spoke to Moses about the need to let go of some of the responsibilities he held tightly and allow others to take some control. It is called delegation and we all need to live with this in our lives. In its simplest form, it can create a less chaotic household. It can be constructive in the workplace, with church volunteers and staff, and with any situation where there are many tasks to be accomplished and a group of people with willing hands. You can’t do it all by yourself. Delegate.

“The next day Moses took his place to judge the people. People were standing before him all day long, from morning to night. When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, ‘What’s going on here? Why are you doing all this, and all by yourself, letting everybody line up before you from morning to night?'”

– Exodus 18:13-14 [MSG]

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Why All Alone?

Why are you trying to do all this alone? That is what Jethro asks Moses when he visits (see Exodus 18). We have to ask ourselves that same question from time to time. Why are YOU trying to do all this alone?

Recently I got another job and ended up being overwhelmed. I had too much on my plate and had to delegate some of my responsibilities to others. I had to stop doing some things and pass on other things. We tend to take on a lot of tasks and responsibilities because we want to help. Sometimes we get it into our head that we are best suited for a task. Jethro helped to show Moses that what he was doing was “not good” and told him, “You’re going to wear yourself out—and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself” (v. 17 NLT). Moses needed to delegate.

If you are feeling stressed out, examine your schedule and your responsibilities. Is your plate filled to the brim? Are there things that someone else could do instead of you? We aren’t meant to take on everything or to do it all. Delegation is important. Remember what Jethro said—it’s not going to just wear you out, but also those around you.

“You’re going to wear yourself out–and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself.” – Exodus 18:18 [NLT]

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