Have you ever felt like you had the weight of the world on your shoulders? Or that people were expecting too much from you? The feeling of being overwhelmed is not unfamiliar to most of us, and over time, can leave us feeling tired and ineffective. We tend to start blaming ourselves and others for not meeting up to par with expectations, and we spiral out of control. God understands why we as His children, tend to keep the burden of worry and responsibility to ourselves. Exodus 18 gives us a great depiction of the heavy burden we carry sometimes.
“The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, ‘What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?’” (13-14)
In the book of Exodus, God uses Moses to lead over 600,000 men, not including the number of women or children, out of the bondage of Egypt. That’s a lot of people. In doing so, God showed how mighty He was over all the pagan gods. Moses’ Father-in-law, Jethro, (a pagan worshiper) heard about all the things that God had done for the people of Israel and went out to visit Moses in the wilderness. After Jethro and Moses had greeted each other, Jethro saw the overwhelming burden Moses was carrying. Moses was answering the problems of all the people, over 600,000 of them, on his own. The people of Israel would stand around Moses from morning to evening petitioning their complaints to him. So in other words, Jethro was not just questioning what Moses and the people of Israel were doing, he was saying, “Are you crazy!”
“Moses answered him, ‘Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.’” (15-16)
When we read this passage we can explain how Moses might have justified himself in this matter. But if we read closer we can conclude that Moses was in fact saying: “I am the only one equip to handle this job.” You see, sometimes we prevent ourselves from seeing the heavy burden we carry, because we feel like we can’t trust anyone else with it. We believe that the task set before us is “too important” or “too difficult” for anyone else to carry, and so we give it to the “only” person equip for the job… ourselves. God may have given you charge over a very important task, but He never tells us to go it alone.
“Moses’ father-in-law replied, ‘What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work load is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.” (17-18)
We not only serve a God who can do miracles and wonders in our lives, but we also serve a very practical Creator. God’s plan is to give us an important task, but his intentions was to never have us do it alone. We were created to encourage and be encouraged by others around us, to share the Good News about Jesus together. God doesn’t want us to weary ourselves out, He wants us to share the heavy burden we have instead of trying to justify why it’s there.
What heavy burden are you carrying today? Spend time this week writing down areas in your life where you feel overworked or overburdened. How can you lighten the heavy load you carry? God never created us to be a one-man show, He designed us to share each others burdens.