As Moses was being led by the Lord, so he was leading a nation. At this point in the journey, he was becoming confused as to what that really meant day to day. He was tired, lonely, and had some extra wrinkles. So his father-in-law visits, and Moses unloads his concerns. And his father-in-law rejoices over what Moses tells him. After this joyful reunion, Jethro begins to observe Moses in his ministry and leadership and offers some advice. Do you have someone to unload (share the load) with? Do you have people that rejoice over you? Do you allow someone to speak truth into your life? Do you listen to their counsel? Moses would need to, or else he would die young.
- How would your life be different if you took on fewer responsibilities? How would this change your relationship with God?
READ THE WORD: EXODUS 18:13-27 (ESV)
13 The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. 14 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?” 15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God; 16 when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.” 17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. 18 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. 19 Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, 20 and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. 21 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.”
24 So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. 25 Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 26 And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves. 27 Then Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went away to his own country.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What was the problem that Jethro raised to Moses in verse 14?
- How did Moses justify his role? Can his answer be seen as spiritual? How is it unspiritual (vs. 16)?
- What reasons did Jethro give for the need to delegate? Why is the delegation of task harder but better for all?
- By taking Jethro’s advice, how are you more able to separate the essential from the additional?
- Why are you drawn to the additional, sometimes forsaking the essential? (Hint: Whose opinion or perception is most important to you?)
RESPOND TO GOD
Doing too much clouds our priorities; the essentials are your calling. But the additional easily becomes larger than our calling. Moses was humble and listened to his father-in-law. When Moses died at the age of 120, it was said, “His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated” (Deuteronomy 34:7).
Lack of delegation leads to confusion of priorities, loss of vision, burn out, and tragically, even loss of life. Allowing others to bear the burden will make life easier for you. Make sure your identity is not what you do for Jesus but who you are in Jesus … and learn to say no graciously. Life will go easier for you.
- Pray that God gives you the wisdom and courage to do less so that you can do the important—better!