HEARTLIGHTSpecial Feature







    December is a time filled with many stresses that seem to tuck themselves in the bright lights and shiny wrapping paper of our holiday joy. But if we are wise, we will let this also be a time to pause, thank God for our blessings, and seek his help in listening to our hearts. With the start of a new year just around the corner, we can let our Father help us sort through the many priorities of our lives and make solid commitments about how we will tackle our tasks in the coming year. For many of us, Chuck Swindoll’s simple meditation on Moses’ dilemma is a reminder of a great truth that we violate at our own peril. During the next few weeks, I want to encourage you to evaluate your life and ask yourself if you’re trying to do your work and your ministry by yourself. If you find that you are, then join me in heeding the advice of Moses’ wise father-in-law, the voice of God to Moses in a very stressful time in his leadership. —Phil
Moses: An Overworked Servant-Leader, by Charles R. Swindoll

    To the surprise of many casual Bible students, Moses is an example of one who fell into the trap of incredible stress because he took on too many responsibilities and concerns. He was surrounded by an endless number of needs, people demands, requests for decisions, and problems to solve. On one occasion, his father-in-law, Jethro, paid him a visit and witnessed the load Moses was living under. Exodus 18 tells the story:

And it came about the next day that Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood about Moses from the morning until the evening. Now when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge and all the people stand about you from morning until evening?”
And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. When they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor, and make known the statutes of God and His laws.”
And Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you are doing is not good. 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.” (vv.13-18).

He couldn’t continue doing it all alone.
    The classic account of an ancient workaholic! This wise father-in-law comes right out and faces Moses with the truth: “It isn’t good…to wear yourself out.” Jethro saw the whole thing objectively. He saw his son-in-law on the raw edge of exhaustion. The anxiety brought on by that much work was soon to take a toll on Moses. He couldn’t continue doing it all alone.

    Does this sound like your biography? Are you the type who tends…

    to take on too much work…
    to handle the demands all alone…
    to hang in there without much thought of passing the load around?

To quote Jethro’s counsel, “The thing that you are doing is not good.”

    Perhaps this is the bottomline reason you have become so anxious in recent days. Be honest enough to admit it if it’s true. That’s the first (and most important) step in the process of recognizing that you “cannot do it alone,” and like Moses, seek the help of others to do the Lord’s work.


HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Copyright © 1996-97, Heartlight, Inc., 8332 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78759.
This excerpt is taken from the booklet Stress: Calm Answers for the Worry Worn (Zondervan Publishing House, 1995). It is available at your local bookstore or by calling 1-800-727-3480. Used by permission.
May be reprinted and reused for non-commercial purposes only if copyright credits are appropriately displayed.
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