Jump Start #3145
Jump Start # 3145
Exodus 18:17 “And Moses’ father-in-law said to him, ‘The thing that you are doing is not good.’”
Poor Moses was over his head with work. From sunup to sundown he was dealing with the complaints, disputes and troubles of the nation. Long lines filled with bitter and unhappy people makes the best of days not so good. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, saw all of this. Our verse was his observation. This isn’t working. In fact, “You are not doing good.” And, there was valid reasons to say that. Moses was on a quick trip for a mental meltdown and burn out. And, when testy people have to wait and wait, they become even more testy. Impatient. Grumbling. Jethro saw that something big was about to blow up.
Now, there are some great lessons here for us:
First, not only did Jethro see the problem, he understood and detailed a workable solution. It’s easy to see problems. Just turn on the nightly news, you’ll see a bunch from racism, to the economy, to foreign policy. We see the problems. How do you fix them? Jethro had the solution. It wasn’t a wild idea that wasn’t thought out. It was very doable. Delegate. Train. Oversee.
The same works today in our homes and in the church. We could spend all day talking about the problems. But, how to find workable, doable solutions, now that’s something else. Balancing work, home, church, kids, and a zillion other things is hard to do. Many families feel stretched thin. Another game. Another practice. Tired. Frazzled. Stressed. That’s many homes. I’ve been there. I know the feeling. Sometimes a parent has to say “no.” It’s ok if your child isn’t in every activity. We see the problem, how are we going to fix it?
Second, Moses had the heart to listen to Jethro. It was Moses that God called, not Jethro. This was Moses’ job, not Jethro. And, Jethro was family. That’s all it takes, especially for some of us preachers to say, ‘You don’t know what you are talking about.” Not Moses. He listened. He implemented. Things got better. More people were heard and more people were used and more people were trained. It was a win-win situation. But, if Moses had dug his heels in and decided that he took advice from no one, especially an “in-law”, then he likely would have cracked and came apart. We need to listen to our spouses. We need to listen to our children. We need to listen to the sound advice of those that know.
Third, it’s alarming to me that Israel had that many complaints and problems with one another. And, more than that, they couldn’t solve these problems without going to Moses. None of this speaks well for the nation. None of this looks good. And, sometimes this sad picture, is the image of some congregations. Bumping, bruising, and pushing each other to no end. Fellowship strained and lacking grace and forgiveness, we look for a Moses to tell our problems to. I wonder if Moses ever thought of standing up and shouting, “You each go home and figure this stuff out yourselves.” But, he knew that wouldn’t have done any good. Sometimes the house isn’t big enough and sometimes the church building just isn’t big enough, because we can get into each other’s way and become more of an obstacle than a help.
Fourth, it’s hard to delegate. I know that personally. I’d just as soon do something myself, because I know how I want it to be done. By the time I tell someone, show them and walk them through it, I’d have it done if I was doing it myself. But delegation is important. In Acts 6, the apostles told the church to pick out seven spiritual men to take care of the widows. Couldn’t the apostles do that? Sure. Were they above that and too good for that? Never. But no one else could do what the apostles were assigned to do. Let them do what they can and then let others do what they can. This produces a team spirit and this gives everyone a piece of ownership. They need me because I do this.
The words of Jethro—not being critical, but helpful. Not making things worse, but better.