“This is not good!” Moses’ father-in-law exclaimed. “You’re going to wear yourself out—and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself. .. If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.” Moses listened to his father-in-law’s advice and followed his suggestions. [Exodus 18:17-18,23-24 (NLT)]
Last year, a friend spent several months recovering from various surgeries and her ability to get around was severely limited. She’ll agree that her husband, who served as nurse, cook, and maid became a candidate for sainthood. Friends volunteered to help but she was unwilling to accept assistance. Another friend recently lost her husband. These last few months were a tremendous challenge both physically and emotionally as she watched her loved one’s health and mental capacity deteriorate. Yet, when friends offered to help, she declined. She said she wanted to save those offers of help for a time they were truly needed. That time, however, had already arrived! I know better than pointing my finger and own up to being no different than my friends. No matter how much I need it, I’m rarely about to admit I need help, let alone ask for or accept it!
Like many of us, Moses tried to do it all by himself. He ended up spending so much time and energy listening to the Hebrews’ complaints and settling their disputes that he had no time for anything else. These were a “stiff-necked people”—obstinate, full of complaints and disagreements—and there were two to three million of them! Moses was never going to lead them anywhere if he had to spend all day trying to keep the peace. Fortunately, his father-in-law, Jethro, saw the problem and told him to stop micro-managing and start delegating—get some help. Before Moses could do that, however, he had to be willing to admit he couldn’t do it by himself!
Like Moses, many of us are overwhelmed by our responsibilities. Like my friends (and me), not only are we hesitant to ask for assistance, but we won’t accept help when it is offered. Perhaps we think ourselves unworthy or fear appearing vulnerable. Maybe we don’t want to be thought of as a burden or dread feeling obligated to someone. It could be that we’re simply unwilling to cede control to someone else and, just maybe, we’re afraid someone could do whatever it is better! That sounds a lot like lack of faith, false humility, fear and pride (none of which should be part of a Christian’s life)!
The Hebrew phrase “Jehovah Ezer” is translated as “Lord our Help” and, indeed, the Lord is our help. When we’re overwhelmed, when life has just piled way too much on our shoulders, it’s not God’s fault. The problem is not that God has failed to help us; more often than not, it is that we have failed to see and accept the help He so graciously has provided.
We cannot climb up a rope that is attached only to our own belt. [William E. Hocking]