Exodus 18:1-27, “19 Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you…”
In the early church, as the number of disciples multiplied, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected. There was a need for “widows ministry”. A number of ministries were on the rise. Instead of the disciples abandoning their call to take on new ones or stretching themselves to expand their ministries by taking on more responsibilities, they applied wisdom.
Acts 6:2, “Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables“. They did not want the ministry to stop neither did they want to lose their priorities and effectiveness. Not that serving the tables was less of a ministry. They knew that they had to stick to what they had been called to do and raise other people to take over some of the new responsibilities. Here was their advice Acts 6:3-4, “3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; 4, but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
A similar advise Jethro gave to his son in-law Moses, he said in Exodus 18:19, “Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you” The work was too much, he would lose his priorities. His wife and sons needed him, eventually he was destined to be wearied and not have time for them. It was not good for his health as Jethro noted. It was not also effective because people had to wait long hours and maybe even days to get counsel they needed. The other thing to note, what he was doing was denying other people opportunities for growth as leaders. Jethro’s advice was, “here is my counsel, put it to practice, create more time to commune with God and He will be with you”.
You cannot be involved in ministry without involving the God of the ministry; and you cannot substitute your time with God to do ministry. You can be busy working that you forget who you are working for, forget to commune with Him or only to remember Him when you are worn out from doing His work. If you are not sharpened by Him, I do not see how you can be effective. And how can you be sharpened if you do not allow Him to sharpen you? You need a strong foundation to build your life and ministry upon and the bible says, “No other foundation can man lay other than that which is laid, Jesus Christ” (paraphrased). Many fall because they are too busy building walls and no foundation (character).
Listen to Jethro’s continued advise vs. 20-22, “20 And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do”. 21 Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times”. Moses was not to always fish for them but teach them how to fish. Moses was to raise more leaders and invest in them the leadership qualities he had according to their abilities. He was not just going to raise anyone, he was going to raise people who had the same faith, mindset, vision to carry on with the work he could not handle alone Fish for someone and feed them for a day, teach them how to fish and feed them for a lifetime.When the time comes, they will also teach someone else how to fish and though it appears that other people are doing what Moses would be doing, come to think of it, Moses would still be reaching people through other people he invested in. And Moses headed to this counsel.
When God raises you and you begin to raise someone else knowing that you cannot do everything, the legacy started in them will still continue. There are people who are well gone but what they started are still running. GE for example was founded by Thomas Alva Edison. Though he started the company, he must have understood that the success of the company would not depend on him running it alone but investing in other people to expand it. Yes he is long gone but he is still reaching the world through what he started. GE is one of the world’s mega corporation and one of the world’s most respected companies, I happen to work for them.
As for the disciples, they distributed responsibilities, their wisdom was welcomed and put to practice and Acts 6:7 says, “Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith”. Moses, the disciples, Thomas Edison would not have accomplished much had they felt that doing everything by themselves would have resulted to effectiveness. I am still learning that doing everything may not necessarily mean effectiveness. I am also still learning that it is not what I do that commends me to God, it is who I am in Christ. God is more interested in winning us first than us winning the world for Him. May we receive wise counsel. Blessings Ev