Sharing the Load
Moses had a father-in-law. His name was Jethro, a name that has become inextricably tied to a dumb, over-grown hillbilly in Beverly Hills who eats his family out of house and home. But not this Jethro. Unlike the Beverly Hillbilly, he was prudent and offered Moses some wise counsel.
As the passage says, Moses was doing all the work as it related to judging the people. People waited all day long just to bring their cases to the man of God. Jethro observed this one day and came to a sensible conclusion: Look for upright men, men of integrity, whom you can teach God’s law. Then organize them over groups of tens, fifties, hundreds, and thousands. Let them take the easier cases and you take only the hardest. Moses was humble enough to take the advice, and not only was relieved of a great burden, but could know that God’s people were taken care of. At the same time, other men grew in wisdom as they shared in the ministry.
This makes a good picture of the church – the Body of Christ – with each person taking their place as God assigns (1 Corinthians 12). Every part is needed. No one has the right to absent himself from the Body. No one has the right not to take part. Each bears some gift whereby the whole may be edified. And judgment will be severe to the one who buries his gift (Matthew 25:14-30).
The Prophet Jeremiah prophesied of a time (the time of the New Covenant in which we live today) when “no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother saying ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest” (31:34). He speaks of the Church. Those who are born again of the Spirit are taught of the Spirit through the Word (John 14:26; 16:12-15). Of course, none of this precludes pastors and teachers, whom the Lord gave unto his church that she may be built up in the most holy faith (Ephesians 4:11-16). The Israelites still needed Moses; the Church still needs her elders. But it is so wonderful that, from the time of Moses, the work of ministry has been shared; and that from the time of Pentecost, the work of ministry has been the task of all of God’s people. Seek to know your own gift from God, and use it for the building up of the faithful and the furtherance of God’s kingdom.