April 4, Thursday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“No, You Aren’t Sitting This One Out”

Exodus 18:13-23

The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. 14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?”15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God; 16 when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.”17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. 19 Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, 20 and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do.21 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.”

In an exercise in management and organizational behavior worthy of Harvard Business Review, Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, saves his son-in-law from certain burnout. Not to mention, he also saves the Israelites from endless frustration, as there was no way one man could have addressed their myriad problems. Instituting a pyramid org chart, Jethro helps to “filter and funnel” Israel’s problems so that only the most difficult cases were placed before Moses. What’s the takeaway from this ancient episode for us? Simply this: We are all meant to partake in ministry.

It is no coincidence that this event takes place shortly after deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Come New Testament, we know that Egypt represented not physical bondage, but bondage to sin, and that Jesus was the one like Moses who would deliver His brothers from spiritual slavery. However, once He does so, He immediately turns His attention to getting us in the game:

Ephesians 4:10-12: He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ

There will always be some in Christian leadership especially well-suited to tackling the “hard problem” – the elders, those with the gift of the word of wisdom, etc. – but this doesn’t mean that everyone else sits out while they do the “real ministry.” Christ has given us all gifts and abilities with which we can make a difference in the world for the kingdom of God. If we stick with the old 80/20 rule – that 80% of the work in the church is done by 20% of the people (or, worse yet, 90/10!), we will inevitably find burnt out leaders and a congregation, not to mention world, that’s not being ministered to. Whether as an influencer of “ten” or a “thousand,” there is a place of ministry for you alongside the true Moses, Jesus our Lord.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for delivering me from the bondage of sin. I acknowledge that You saved me, not so that I could sit on the sidelines, but so that I could serve others with the gifts and abilities that You have given me. May Your Spirit fill me with faith, boldness, and the security of knowing that I am a beloved child of God, so that I may walk in your will and be used to be a blessing to others. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Romans 1


Lunch Break Study

Read Mark 10:17-22: And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Questions to Consider

  1. If the rich young man was so good at keeping commandments, why didn’t he think that he was worthy of eternal life?
  2. Does Jesus’ command to the young man mean that we also need to give away everything we have? How does this apply to us?
  3. What was Jesus’ attitude towards the young man when He commanded him to sell everything? How should this encourage us?

Notes

  1. There was another god in his life- money- and he could feel it weighing on his soul.
  2. Whatever it is that we are not willing to give away is what Jesus would have us give away.
  3. He loved him. Whatever it is that God is asking you to surrender, you can do so in faith because you know that His motivation towards you is love.

Evening Reflection

Take a moment to reflect upon your day. What were the moments of tension or conflict that you experienced in your heart? Do you notice a pattern that might reveal something that has mastery over your heart?

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