You’ve probably preached Exodus 18:17–27 at some point. I have too.
But today, it’s time we apply it.
It’s the account of a visit Jethro made to his son-in-law Moses. Old Jethro frowned as he watched Moses flash from one need to another, from one person to another. From early morning until late at night, Moses was neck-deep in conversations, decisions, and activities. (Sound like your week?)
Moses must have looked very impressive—eating on the run, moving fast, planning other appointments, meeting deadlines.
But Jethro wasn’t at all impressed. “What is this thing that you are doing for the people?” he asked (Exodus 18:14). Moses was somewhat defensive (most too-busy people are) as he attempted to justify his ridiculous schedule. Jethro didn’t buy the story.
Rather, he advised Moses against trying to do everything alone. He reproved him with strong words: “The thing that you are doing is not good. You will surely wear out” (18:17–18). The Hebrew term means “to become old, exhausted.” In three words, he told Moses to CALL FOR HELP.
The benefits of shifting and sharing the load? Read Jethro’s words for yourself: “It will be easier for you . . . you will be able to endure” (18:22–23). Isn’t that interesting? God wants our lifestyles to be easier than most of us realize.
For some reason, we pastors seem to think it’s better to have that tired-blood, overworked-underpaid, I’ve-really-got-it-rough look. You know, the martyr complex that conveys to the flock, “I’m working so hard for Jesus.”
The truth of the matter is quite the contrary. That hurried, harried appearance usually means, “I’m too stubborn to slow down,” or “I’m too insecure to say no,” or “I’m too proud to ask for help.”
But since when is a bleeding ulcer a sign of spirituality? Or no time off and a seventy-hour week a mark of efficiency? When will we learn that efficiency is enhanced not by what we accomplish but more often by what we relinquish?
The ministry getting (or gotten) you down? Feeling rotten? Too tired to pray . . . in too big a hurry? Ticked off at a lot of folks?
Let me suggest one of the few four-letter words God loves to hear us shout when we’re angry: