May 21, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves. Then Moses sent his father-in-law on his way, and Jethro returned to his own country.”—Exodus 18:24–27 (NIV)
Read the list below created by author Ruth Haley Barton and feel free to check whatever applies to your current state of being:
If you can identify with several of these, then something is missing because of all the “somethings” you’re doing.
I don’t presume to know you and suggest slowing down. Staying busy can be a good thing. After all, Jesus led a rather busy life. But sometimes taking on too much responsibility or adding one more thing to your to-do list can cost you more than it completes you.
Case in point, Moses. I imagine he could check off all the items on the above list. It’s estimated that Moses had charge of at least a million people. A million complaints, a million sorrows, a million disagreements . . . it was overwhelming and exhausting. What was essential to the people was nonessential for Moses’ specific calling, and Jethro saw it wasn’t a good thing (Exodus 18:17).
So, it was a good thing when Jethro advised him to delegate responsibility to the capable men he knew. And an even better thing when Moses prayed about that advice and followed it. It’s hard to follow a calling from God when everyone else is calling on you at the same time!
Jesus also had a “calling,” but never once do we read He was in a hurry. Then, when the time was right, He commissioned His apostles to carry out His work (Matthew 10; Mark 6; Luke 6). Later, after His earthly ministry, they were empowered to further carry out His work and were experienced to do so.
Paul addressed the idea of sharing responsibility in his first letter to the Corinthians. He explained that we’re empowered by the Holy Spirit with gifts and they all work together to serve the body of Christ. So, asking someone for help allows them to exercise their gifts. At the same time, it lightens your load and allows you to connect to your calling and spend time with Jesus. People learn by doing and experiencing the process, and that’s how we best serve God and the body of Christ—by exercising our gifts and callings.
Jesus’ words “my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30 NIV) come to mind as I write this. The context centers around the requirement of committing to Him vs. the requirements of the religious leaders. But we can also apply it to our overcommitments and the nonessentials we pile on ourselves. Those nonessentials can cause us to lose focus on our relationship with God and our capacity to accept and extend His perfect portion for us. They cost us more than they complete us. While it’s always good to serve Jesus, it’s better to do so when we can give Him our best.
Pause: Solomon wrote, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22 NIV). Let this sit with you as you consider all the “somethings” on your agenda.
Practice: If you checked off several of those points in the list above, consider Jesus’ words—His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Like Moses, prayerfully consider how to lighten your load so you can build more time for Jesus and build up those around you.
Pray: Lord, I know I have nothing to prove to You by taking on more than I can handle. I know all You desire is mercy, not sacrifice, and the knowledge of You. Help me, Lord, to understand the right portion of sacrifice and place time with You above everything else. Give me wisdom to see things as You do. Amen.
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.