Jump Start # 2609
Exodus 18:17 “Moses’ father-in-law said to him, ‘The thing that you are doing is not good.’”
Recently in a class on “Blurry Vision,” I talked about the problems of flying solo spiritually. Just me and the Lord. I really do not need you and I really do not need the church. Between the Lord and I, we can take care of just about anything that comes my way. That thinking will get a person in trouble. The Lord knows that we need others. We need the church. And, often, the Lord sends help in the form of other people. By isolating myself, I actually cut off much of the help that the Lord provides. That study can be found on our website.
One of the passages that I used in that study is our verse today. Moses. He was flying solo. From morning until evening, he was listening to disputes and directing people according to the law. Morning until evening. Can you imagine? All day long, listening to complaints. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law came for a visit. He saw what Moses was doing. And, here is where he says, “The thing that you are doing is not good.” It wasn’t sinful. But as a father-in-law, he realized that Moses was burning the candle at both ends and in the middle. He was going to burnout very quickly. He was headed for some serious problems. Others could do what Moses was doing.
Now, some lessons.
First, Jethro had the relationship and love for Moses that he could speak out and speak his mind. Many do not have that relationship. We see that things could be better, but we keep still or worse, we just tell others. On the current pace, Moses was going to make Jethro’s daughter a widow. In, this relationship, Moses respected and listened to Jethro. How easily Moses could have said, “God didn’t appoint you.” “You had no burning bush to talk about.” Or, “I am the chosen leader, not you.” Moses listened. We can learn from others, if we give ourselves and them a chance.
Second, Jethro didn’t just tell Moses that he was taking on too much. Jethro had thought out a plan. He had a solution in his pocket. Involve others. Teach them. Show them. Delegate. Use your abilities for things that others cannot do. That same lesson needs to be applied in the church today. Certainly shepherds can mow the church lawn and paint the walls of the building, but so can others. Let others do that, and you shepherds do what they cannot. You lead. You protect. You shepherd. You do that and you delegate to others what they can do. This gives others the sense of ownership and responsibility.
It’s easy to see what’s wrong. About anyone can do that. But coming up with a plan that will work, a solution, now that’s hard. Jethro did that. So, before he spoke to Moses, he observed and he thought and he planned. Jethro didn’t come in with the common words, “You need to fix this.” Great. How? Who has time to do that? It’s easy to see problems. But coming up with realistic plans that will work, and presenting them in such a way that doesn’t defeat and destroy others is hard. That’s what Jethro did.
Third, involving others is often hard for some of us. I am one of those kind of people. I’d as soon do it myself because I know what it should look like. Stopping and asking for directions is hard for some. Asking for help is hard for some. We like to fly solo. We like independence. But God wired us in such a way that we need each other. We need each other spiritually. We need each other for encouragement, fellowship, examples and support. Solomon in Ecclesiastes painted a sad picture of someone who falls and there is no one to help him up. We’ve seen the commercials on TV where an elderly person falls and they holler out, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” That’s the problem of walking through life solo. Who will encourage you? Who will support you? Who will warn you? Who will guide you?
But in the long run, involving others not only would help Moses but it would equip others. It would allow them to learn and to develop. Would others be as good as Moses? Maybe. Maybe not. But we need to see this as we consider Bible class teachers. Get the same ones all the time, or develop others. Same guys always leading singing, or develop others. When we teach others we are investing in the future. Moses wouldn’t always be around. Who would take care of disputes if Moses never taught anyone?
Finally, even those in leadership roles can learn and take advice from others. The words of Jethro was “The thing you are doing is not good.” Here we had a good man, Moses, and the way he was doing things was not good. Preachers can learn from others. Shepherds can learn from others. Don’t let your role get to your head and believe that you are beyond learning from anyone else. That’s a prideful and dangerous place to be. We need to open our eyes and learn.
Can you imagine how Moses felt about a month later? Wow! What a difference. Others were hearing the disputes. Moses was overseeing them. More could be done and even faster because of the levels of people that were now taught and involved. Moses had to take his fingers off of these things and allow others and trust others to do what he once did.
Great story for us. Helping each other. That’s what the church is.