Handling Stress and Burnout - Exodus 18

Handling Stress and Burnout

Exodus 18:1-27

Serving the Lord in a leadership position isn't always easy.  A good number of Christian workers leave their ministry suffering emotional stress and burnout.  This is mainly attributed to doing too much, carrying a load heavier than one can bear.  There may be (and usually are) other factors, but most often the emotional burden is too great.

Moses was a leading candidate for burnout.  He had to deal with perceived threats upon his life, as well as continually listen to murmuring and complaining by those whom he led out of Egypt.  Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, brought his wife and two sons to him from Midian.  On the next day he observed "that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moses from morning until evening."  Jethro asked, "What is this thing that you are doing for the people?  Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?"  Moses answered, "Because the people come to me to inquire of God.  When they have a difficulty, they come to me, and I judge between one and another; and I make known the statutes of God and His laws."  Jethro replied, "The thing that you do is not good.  Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out.  For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself."  How true!

Moses' father-in-law offered this advice.  First, "Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God."  He is the great Burden-bearer.  We are told to cast all of our cares upon Him, because He cares for us.  1 Peter 5:7.  Second, "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."  In other words, teach by example.  If others learned the answers to their problems, they would not be coming to Moses.  Third, "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 ten.  And let them judge the people at all times."  Choose the right people.  Distribute your load, and let others participate in carrying the load.  Finally, "Then it shall be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge."  Deal with the hard cases, and let others handle smaller matters.

Moses, the man of God, followed Jethro's advice.  His burden became lighter, because he shared it with others.  Christian ministry is not a solo operation.  We are all laborers together with God.


Lord, thank You for raising up men and women of vision, who are dedicated to reaching out to others.  Help us to realize that you have many laborers, and the task is not ours alone.  In Jesus' name.  Amen! 


The Ten Commandments - Exodus 20



All About God

Scripture taken from the
New King James Version.
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1979, 1980, 1982
by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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