So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, “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?”
In our zeal to please God and advance His kingdom, we Christians often take on responsibilities that God never intended us to have. One of the great challenges of the Christian life is determining what God does not want us to do! Our intentions are admirable: We love God, we love His people, and we see many needs around us. But sometimes our good intentions cause more harm than good.
Moses was aware of the need for someone to settle disputes among the Israelites. Someone had to help those former slaves learn how to live together as the people of God, so Moses took it upon himself to meet this need. Long lines of unhappy people, hoping to have their cases heard, stood before Moses each day. Moses spent day after day carrying the weight of his nation’s problems on his shoulders. Finally his father-in-law, an outsider, witnessed what Moses was doing and challenged the wisdom of his actions. Moses was taking on more than he could handle. He was wearing himself out trying to do what was impossible for one person. In doing this service alone, Moses was robbing others of an opportunity to serve the Lord. He was also doing a disservice to his people, who otherwise could have had their issues resolved much sooner.
When you become aware of a need, do not automatically assume God wants you to meet it. The only reason to perform ministry is that God clearly tells you it is His will. If you are feeling overwhelmed by all that you are doing, you are probably doing more than God has asked. Pray carefully about the assignments you take on, so that you don’t rob yourself and others of God’s best.