Tag Archives: Exodus 18:14
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]
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]
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]