SOAP Journal – 28 November 2016 (Exodus 18:18)

You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.

Exodus 18:18

Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, comes to visit Israel after he hears about all the awesome things that God has done. Apparently word had gotten around that God had caused the Egyptians serious hurt and that Amalek had just been given a beating. So, Jethro brings Moses’ wife and two boys down to the camp.

The day after Jethro and Moses have a little palaver, Jethro sees Moses taking the people’s problems to God and telling the people what God has to say on matters. There are so many people and so many problems that Moses has time for nothing else.

That brings today’s verse into play. On seeing that Moses had no time to get anything else done — which would include spending time with his wife and children — Jethro introduces him to the concept of delegation. He tells Moses to find capable, God-fearing men and appoint them to handle the little things; the things that can easily be decided with knowledge of God’s laws and a little common sense. They can still bring the big issues to Moses, but the little things can be handled by others.

What Jethro points out is that Moses is going to wear himself  out with the work and the people with the waiting. Waiting is hard work — just ask anyone who has had to wait to see if they would serve on a jury — and some of the people were waiting from sun up to sun down. And constantly dealing with people and their problems is exhausting … though that may just be me. A little Godly delegation is appropriate.

I have, in times past, been guilty of trying to shoulder too much of the burden in ministry. There have been times when I was given tings to oversee and I felt that the only way for them to be done right was to do them myself. That is the conventional wisdom. It is not practical and, more importantly, it flies in the face of scripture.

I have also, in times past, been wise enough to delegate tasks to others serving alongside me in ministry. Sometimes, this has worked out well and the things entrusted to them went beautifully. Other times, a lack of commitment or follow-through was revealed and those individuals were not entrusted with things of that importance again. Lesser importance? Sure. Not the same level.

This verse is a reminder of two things. One, Godly delegation is sanctioned by scripture. It is Godly to entrust tasks to trustworthy and capable people. Two, God provides fellow laborers in ministry to reduce the burden on those who spearhead. I can easily fall back on the worldly wisdom of doing something myself if I want it done right or I can delegate the task to others who are both willing and able to shoulder some of the burden. One of these is doing things the way God wants me to while the other will wear me out.

Father, thank You for the reminder that the work You have given me is not to be done exclusively by me, but can and should be shared with others who have the ability and the desire to help. Please make me mindful of this at all times and give me eyes to see those who are both willing and able to help.

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