13 The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. 14 When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”
15 Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”
17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”
Exodus 18:13-23 (New International Version)
Not Asking for Help
When we are given a difficult task, why do we have the tendency to not ask for help? A lot of it, I believe, is rooted in our fears that if we let people help us, then the project will not be successful. As a result of this lack of faith in people, we work on our challenging projects alone, and become overwhelmed with the work load and get burned out.
Moses’s Difficult Task
That was what was happening to Moses in Exodus 18. As the leader of Israel, it was his job to instruct the people in the ways of God and to make judgments when there were disputes among them. It is hard to imagine one man being the judge of a nation of tens of thousands of people.
When Moses’s father-in-law saw what Moses was doing, he knew that it was a disaster just waiting to happen. First of all, he knew that it was impossible for Moses to resolve every case in one day; this will cause some people to feel bitter because their case wasn’t settled. Finally, the stress of presiding over case after case would eventually wear on Moses, both physically, mentally, and spiritually.
I wonder if the Lord saw this problem too and sent Moses’s father-in-law to show Moses a better way to take care of the people. The solution to Moses’s problem was to delegate some of the responsibility to men whom God had blessed with wisdom. Their job would be to judge the minor cases, while Moses handled the major ones. As a result of this, the cases of the people were settled and the stress on Moses lessened.
Not Designed to Work Alone
God has never called us to do His work all by ourselves. That is because there are many aspects of the work which we are not qualified to do. If we attempt to do all of it on our own, it will cause great harm to ourselves and to those whom we are serving.
Work Together as a Body
Instead, we are designed by God to work together as a body of believers called the Church. Every member in the church is different, with different abilities and skills, but they all work together to serve the whole. Each member has its own role to play in the body of believers. However, if one member decides to do something that is beyond its function, it will lose its effectiveness and become burnt out in their service to the Lord.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
When doing the work of the Lord, it is important to remember that we are not alone in the ministry. If we face something that is beyond our skill set, we must not be afraid to ask for help. The ministry of God is not a solitary exercise, but a team effort. Therefore, let’s stop trying to do everything on our own, we aren’t supermen after all.