“What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?” Exodus 18:14
When I was growing up, in the name of preparing me to be a man, I remember my father instilling in me that a man does whatever he needs to do to get the job done and rarely asks for help. That asking for help, along with crying, was a sign of weakness. From a practical perspective, I understand why my father wanted me to learn to be independent… to be able to survive regardless of the circumstances and those around me. However, with all respect, I believe my father missed one very important opportunity to teach his children… to include God in all decisions.
Exodus 18 recounts the story of Moses’ father-in-law, Joshua, engaging with Moses over all of what God had done to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. However, at one point, Joshua questions Moses as to why he continued to take on more than he should have while those around him remained stagnant, never using their God-given gifts.
God never designed us to be solitary beings, left to handle everything we encounter on our own. So, what is it that causes is to think that we’re the only ones who can get a task accomplished? Is it fear that causes us to maintain a solitary attitude? Or perhaps it’s pride? After all, pride looks for security in that which cannot offer security since it cannot endure. The mindset that it’s easier to just do everything ourselves, rather than involving others, and God, in the process, is a powerful aphrodisiac… but we can become so accustomed to doing problem-solving on our own, that we risk burn-out and becoming ineffective to anyone, including ourselves!
We would do well to take a lesson from Daniel, who God described in Acts 13:22 as “…a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” In 2 Samuel 5:19, we find Daniel inquiring of God if he should “go and attack the Philistines?” and receives acknowledgement. However, later, in 2 Samuel 5:23, we find Daniel going back to God again to ask permission to attack the Philistines a second time. Only this time, Daniel is given a different answer from God… an answer that was designed to protect Daniel from harm. Seeking God in all things first is definitely not as a sign of weakness, but an act of obedience and faith that God was who He is. It also helps to keep our relationship with God fresh and not stuck in the past.
God created us to be relational… to care for each other and honor each other’s unique abilities and gifts. Romans 12:4-5 tells us “(f)or as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” Recognizing and honoring God’s gifts in others pleases God and helps to lighten our burden.
What wonderful opportunities will be missed if we don’t allow each person to use the gifts God has provided?
Jesus, let me seek You first, in all things, and to recognize the gifts You have given to others. Help me to remember that You never made me to carry the load by myself… that in Your wisdom, You’ve given each of us gifts to serve You by serving each other. Amen!