You Don’t Have to Do it on Your Own
By Brent Rinehart
“Moses's father-in-law said to him, ‘What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone’” (Exodus 18: 17-18).
Country music star Reba McEntire was once asked to what she attributed her successful career. Without hesitation, she shined the light on the myriad of people on her team. “Some of my crew has been with me since the 80s,” she said. “They are family.”
While it sometimes can feel like “me against the world,” none of us were designed to face life’s challenges alone. Just like Reba, we all need support from others to find success.
We get a clear picture of this by examining the experience of Moses. After leading the Israelites out of Egypt and into the desert, Moses had a lot to deal with as the man in charge. When the people were hungry and thirsty, all the grumbling and complaining came to Moses. When they were fighting amongst themselves, all the disputes came to Moses to be settled. All the pressure and responsibility was on Moses’ shoulders.
“When Moses's father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, ‘What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?’” (Exodus 18:14).
“What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone” (Exodus 18: 17-18).
Jethro advised his son-in-law, Moses, to set up a better system of governance, where Moses could handle the bigger issues, while other capable leaders handle smaller matters and bear the burden with him. “If you do this, [Jethro said], God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace” (Exodus 18:23). By sharing the load, it would be much easier for Moses and the people.
Jethro’s advice came on the heels of Moses’s own first-hand experience of needing help. Israel was battling Amalek. While Moses stood on the nearby hillside, he raised his arms. As he did, Israel began to prevail against Amalek. When his arms lowered, Amalek would prevail. As Moses became tired, he was hard for him to keep his arms raised. Aaron and Hur came beside him and each held up one of his arms so Israel would win the battle.
Moses understood that he couldn’t do this alone. He needed God, of course, but he also needed support from those around him. From the beginning, it was God’s design for us to help each other. We weren’t created to do everything on our own. We see this all the way back in the Garden of Eden.
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it…Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him’” (Genesis 2:15, 18).
Sometimes, life can be overwhelming with deadlines at the office, demands at home and a long list of unfinished tasks. We all have a lot of pressure on our shoulders, even if we aren’t in charge of thousands of people wandering in the desert.
But, just like with Moses, God designed helpers to come along side us to offer support. And, He created us to help others around us carry their heavy loads. Often, it’s our own pride that keeps us from accepting help, or our own self-involvement that keeps us from offering it.
Jesus Himself said to “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11: 28). Are you tired? Overwhelmed? Today, find time to share your heavy burdens with God and with others. Know that you can rest in the fact that you weren’t created to do it all on your own.
Intersecting Faith and Life:
- What does sharing the load look like, practically, in your life?
- Do you need to prioritize your day differently to avoid feeling overwhelmed?
- Are you holding on to tasks that you should delegate?
- Whose arms can you hold up today?
- Who is on your team? Spend a few moments thanking God for the helpers in your life.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/alphaspirit
Brent Rinehart is a public relations practitioner and freelance writer. He blogs about the amazing things parenting teaches us about life, work, faith and more at www.apparentstuff.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @brentrinehart
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