“And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening. And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even? And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to enquire of God: When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws. And Moses’ father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good. Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.” – Exodus 18:13-18
We can all sympathize with poor Moses’ plight here. We’ve all grown weary in well doing at some point or another, but perhaps none are more familiar with Moses’ problem then those in ministry. Moses was set before his congregation alone, the burden of all their problems weighing on his shoulders and buzzing in his ears till there was no time for anything else. Whether the issue was serious, simple, silly, or stupid, it all fell on Moses, consuming his entire day continually. He was so busy tending to the needs, cries, and complaints of all the people that he had no time left to spend with God and surely no time to obey Him. This was not good for either Moses or the people. Without his time spent in communion with God and the ability to obediently preform the instructions God gave him in that time, he could be of no real use to the people seeking his audience.
This happens so often in ministry and even in our everyday Christian life. The devil’s easiest tactic against the faithful is to use their good servants heart against them, overwhelming them till they have no time left for them and God, or obedience to His will and daily instructions. They pour out and pour out but never have time to be refilled until they run dry. When this happens everyone looses and the devil wins.
Moses’ father-in-law recognized this tactic of the enemy against Moses. He knew it was meant to distract, weary, worry, overwhelm, and waste away Moses’ time, energy, calling, and purpose. It’s sole purpose was to steal his time away from communing with God where he would be able to effectively lift the people’s true needs up to God in prayer and receive God’s laws, commandments, and instructions for them. This is evident in his advice to Moses regarding what he was witnessing. He advised Moses to delegate the burdens down to trusted righteous others, filtering out the petty ploys of the enemy to busy and overwhelm him, yet still able to deal with the simple issues and bring the real problems that genuinely needed Moses attention to him.
When the devil starts using this tactic against us it often takes someone else to speak the obvious to us. We want to help all and feel guilty that we can’t but truly, Moses’ father-in-law was right. We can do nothing alone, it is to heavy a burden. This is why Jesussent his disciples out by twos, and why the New Testament church was set up to function in the five fold ministry (Ephesians 4:11) delegating the burden of ministry out to five individuals primarily (the apostle, the prophet, the evangelist, the pastor, and the teacher) and then down even further if needed to the ministry of administrations and the ministry of helps (1 Corinthians 12:28).
Every Christian needs at least one other person in their life to help walk out and share their faith, fulfilling the great commission. This person can be your spouse, a family member, or a trusted Christian friend. You should serve to keep each other accountable, encouraging and looking after each other in the faith, to be a prayer partner praying with and for each other, and to be a study buddy, asking each other questions and provoking each other to read your bibles and dig deeper into the Word. Only when the task is too large for the two of you to handle, or an answer too illusive, should you both be running to leadership in the church for help. For those in ministry this applies also, but to that I would add the delegation of duties and sharing of burdens with a full ministry team comprising of the five fold, administrations, and helps. That you not become overwhelmed, overburdened, discouraged, hardened, bitter, or burnt out.
Never allow the devil to steal your time with God, even with service to His people or you will be of little good to them in the end. Rather then giving tiny bits of yourself to everyone, give large bits of yourself to a trusted mature few that are able to grow and stand on their own that they may, in-turn help you carry the burden of the people. As Moses’ father-in-law spoke into the prophets’ life this wisdom, allow me to now speak it into yours. Don’t be afraid to raise up others to help hold your arms up when they are weary from the long battle or you’ll never make it to fight the next one (Exodus 17:8-12).
“Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do. Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace. So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.” – Exodus 18:19-24