Help Carry the Load

Exodus 18:13-23

13 The next day, Moses took his seat to hear the people’s disputes against each other. They waited before him from morning till evening.

14 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?”

15 Moses replied, “Because the people come to me to get a ruling from God. 16 When a dispute arises, they come to me, and I am the one who settles the case between the quarreling parties. I inform the people of God’s decrees and give them his instructions.”

17 “This is not good!” Moses’ father-in-law exclaimed. 18 “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. 19 Now listen to me, and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should continue to be the people’s representative before God, bringing their disputes to him. 20 Teach them God’s decrees, and give them his instructions. Show them how to conduct their lives. 21 But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. 22 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. 23 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.”

IMG_4845Having lived in two states and several different cities during my lifetime, I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of a myriad of local churches; some traditional, some contemporary. Despite all their theological differences and expressions of worship during their Sunday morning services, one aspect was always the same. The majority of the people took all their disputes to “Moses” (the preacher, senior pastor, reverend, etc.) Even though these men were extremely capable of dispensing advice and settling the cases between the quarreling parties they met with, Jethro’s warning eventually became a reality: “Moses” wore himself out physically, emotionally and spiritually….and the people became discouraged.

In order to avoid this catastrophe, there are two things the local church must be willing to enforce:

  • The “Moses” of the group must continue to teach God’s decrees to the people and show them how to conduct their lives. He also needs to select capable, honest men, and women who fear God, to lead others.
  • These leaders must always be available to serve others by giving of their time, talent and treasure to help them settle life’s common disputes. When they are faced with major disputes that they are not equipped to handle, they need to refer the people to “Moses.”

If this symbiotic relationship isn’t happening, the church will not effectively be able to “go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).” Fortunately, the solution to this dilemma is simple: repentance. If you’re a “Moses” who is acting as the head of the church, repent for your desire to be in control and surrender your will to the Father. If you’re a man, or woman who has been gifted by the Holy Spirit to help others, but choose instead to stand around watching others serve, repent for your selfishness and surrender your will to His.

Together, all of us MUST follow Jethro’s advice to help carry the load as we seek to “love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and love others, as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-38).”

Together, all of us MUST follow Jethro’s advice to help carry the load as we seek to “love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and love others, as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-38).”

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