By Asst Ps Lai Keet Keong
“Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you.”
Jethro observed from a corner with much concern. I could only imagine his worries as he saw Moses’ endless meeting schedule. The workload appeared too much for one person to bear, and he was concerned about Moses’ health. He probably empathized with the Israelites who queued for a long time for their disputes and concerns to be heard. Perhaps he was also worried about his daughter’s marriage. Moses was too busy to spend time with his family! It was time for Moses to do things differently.
But Moses considered the situation: The people needed spiritual leadership and godly advice. Moses was the only spiritual leader and the go-to person for their problems. While the load was indeed heavy, Moses could only do his best with the limited resources at hand. Was Moses’ way of doing things truly the only way? Will he be opened to do things differently? Jethro's reply in Exodus 18:17 must have caught Moses off guard.
I realized many times I have tried to tackle problems in life, work and ministry not so differently from Moses. I assess the problem, develop feasible options, choose and implement the best solution. That was how I have been taught and trained. To always do my due diligences that are dependable, practical and will most definitely produce good results.
Yet I am reminded that there were times when God choose to lead me to do things differently. Not because the old and familiar ways are wrong, but because God has greater purposes in mind. When God leads us to do some things differently, will the familiarity of our logic, past experiences and confidence in our problem-solving skills be hindrances to God’s higher ways?
When Jesus asked His disciples to feed the crowd of five thousand in Matthew 14:13-21, the task was clearly beyond them. The disciples’ responses were understandable. “Send them home. They can take care of themselves.” But this was not the solution Jesus was looking for. Jesus wanted them to do things differently. So He nudged the disciples, “You give them something to eat.” A test of faith indeed, but the result was a remarkable miracle of provision!
There will come a time in our lives when the Lord will call us to do things differently. It will probably be outside our comfort zones and all things familiar, even defying logic, so that He can position us on stepping stones towards His higher purpose for us. Even when numbers and resources do not seem to add up, remember it is not merely about what we can or cannot do, it is about walking in faith.
Jethro proposed a bold solution to Moses that would require him to put his faith in God and in the people, faith that was aptly expressed by Jethro in verse 19a, “...and may God be with you.” Indeed, the precious presence of God is more valuable than all earthly resources combined. The Psalmist echoed the same thought in Psalms 127:1, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” When we step out in faith and obedience to the Lord, God will be with us!
My brothers and sisters, let us nurture an open heart and be sensitive to God’s leading in this tumultuous season. We ought to do our due diligence, but above our wisdom and experience, we also need to be prepared to do things differently as the Holy Spirit leads us. When we live by faith and not by sight, God’s different and higher way always turns out to be the best path.