Day 15

Jethro’s Visit

Exodus 18:1-27, Deuteronomy 17:8-11, Acts 6:1-7

When I was a junior in high school, I joined a small group that would change my life forever. Comprised of roughly 15 high schoolers, this group changed my life because it taught me what Christian community looks like. Some of us were jocks, some nerds. Some of us were popular, some not. Many of us shared no common interests at all, but we became true brothers and sisters because of our interest in the gospel. We knew we couldn’t follow Christ on our own. We needed each other.

In Exodus 18, Moses is reunited with his family in the wilderness at the encampment based at the mountain of God. There Moses sat as God’s representative, judging disputes amongst the Israelites, when Jethro noticed a problem. He asked Moses, “What is this thing you’re doing for the people? Why are you alone sitting as judge, while all the people stand around you from morning until evening?” (Exodus 18:14).

Moses explained, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. Whenever they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I make a decision between one man and another. I teach them God’s statutes and laws” (vv.15-16).

Jethro was concerned his son-in-law would burn himself out. No one should  bear such a burden alone. Moses needed help, but he was so focused on serving God and acting as an intermediary for his people, that he didn’t realize it. Observing all this interaction, Jethro cautioned Moses, saying, “You can’t do it alone” (v.18).

In the same way, we cannot be so busy in working to serve God, that we lose sight of the fact that we cannot live a faithful Christian life in solitude. We need brothers and sisters in Christ who are willing to come alongside us to walk through this life together. In community, we can encourage, comfort, and sharpen one another.

The only truth, the only value, the only common interest powerful enough to bear the burden of a community of people pursuing lives of eternal significance is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

When our unconditional love for our Christian brothers and sisters is fueled by God’s unconditional love for us, we cannot be stopped in our pursuit of Christlikeness. Gather and grow a group of people around you who will love you well, while loving Jesus more. Together, you can fight through the darkness of the world toward the light of your shared gospel hope.

Written by Chris Martin

Post Comments (6)

6 thoughts on "Jethro’s Visit"

  1. Matt Baker says:

    One of the things that the church I attend focuses on is joining a small group. The rationale behind the push is that we grow in God more fully when we are in community. I have seen this growth in my own life in a number of ways.

    In the fall of 2016, my wife and I joined a couples small group. Since then, I have become much more open about my faith – even with complete strangers. I am okay with being vulnerable with these people and sharing my struggles with them – not something that I would have done prior to this time. Having this group of people around me, convicting me, helped me to make the jump and publicly proclaim my faith through baptism. My wife and I are now training to become navigators so that we can lead a small group one day and give a whole new set of people the same great experience and place to grow that we have had.

    God shows us the way to do life and grow in him while we are here on earth. All we have to do is follow the examples that he has given us.

  2. R. N. says:

    The lesson for us in this is to prioritize and delegate in leadership, yes, but also to help our leaders to do the same. It is also to, as we consider ourselves and our own life, asking where we are doing too much, and find out what we need to turn over so that we can serve God to the fullest. Prioritizing seems to be Moses’ significant struggle at this time. He wants to take care of the children of Israel, but he can’t prioritize correctly so he is stuck hearing every little case. Moses is micromanaging, and Jethro tells him to look at the big picture, and that he needs to correctly prioritize his role in Israel as the leader. Moses takes Jethro’s advice, delegates some of his authority and power, and prioritizes correctly.

  3. Ken Fuller says:

    I can just hear some saying, “Can’t do what alone? I’m saved and going to heaven. I know I need to live a better life. But, hey, I’m forgiven! Jesus died for my sins past, present and future. I think I’m covered.” They (and even me sometime) don’t realize we have been saved for a purpose – to tell others, to be a witness of God’s goodness. And that is a very hard job to do alone.

    When I was in college, the Christian community the I plugged myself into believed strongly in that “commission”. We paired up to do street evangelism. Then I left school and became a member of a church that never did anything like that. They talked about the need! They offered seminars on evangelism. But no one acted on it. I’m still going to that denomination, just a different location, and they still haven’t learned. And God still places men and women that love Him together. Oh, that we would wake up.

  4. Sam Allen says:

    I have been trying to do it all on my own. Trying to work out my own salvation, to be a better husband, a more loving father, a more honouring worker, a better son, a more passionate church member. And this passage has come at just the right time to say ‘You cannot handle it alone’.

    I feel so burdened by the need to be all things to all men, to be bulletproof and steadfast. It drives me to hold on too tightly to the good but fragile things in my life – family, health, wealth. I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel going ever faster.

    But God says that that is why He puts others around us to carry the burden with us – to ‘make your load lighter’. What I’m wrestling with is how to share that burden – the context, the individuals, the time, the risk! But maybe I’m realising that those practical questions are second to the statement – ‘you cannot handle it alone’. So I’m going to push doors, and not be satisfied with shallow relationships, but to pursue Him, as He has pursued me, by sharing the load.

  5. Bill Wilson says:

    Community is vital to the Christian life. This is one of those truths that should not be disputed by anyone. And even more beneficial is community that is transparent, vulnerable, and invested in each other’s lives and Christian growth. I have personally seen a difference, both individually and in my marriage, between actively being involved in this type of community and not being involved. God doesn’t want us to do this alone – He’s given us His Spirit and many others to partner with us in His work.

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