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14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, What is this that you do for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening? 17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, The thing that you are doing is not good. 18 You will surely wear out both yourself and this people with you, for the thing is too heavy for you; you are not able to perform it all by yourself. Exodus 18: 14, 17, 18 AMPC
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25 NIV
39 And she had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was listening to His teaching. 40 But Martha [overly occupied and too busy] was distracted with much serving; and she came up to Him and said, Lord, is it nothing to You that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me [to lend a hand and do her part along with me]! 41 But the Lord replied to her by saying, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; 42 There is need of only one or but a few things. Mary has chosen the good portion [that which is to her advantage], which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10: 39-42 AMPC
Feeling needed really is an ego trip. That feeling of, “If I don’t do it, no one will, then the world will come tumbling down”. That thought of, “If you want something done right, just do it yourself”. It’s this delusional super hero mentality where we feel like, “The fate of the world hangs in the balance and I’m the only one with the power to save us all!”. It’s a high some of us can’t get enough of. We’re convinced that if we don’t do anything, nothing will happen. Or even worse for the perfectionists among us, someone else will do it, but they’ll do it wrong…the horror! We take on the burden of doing good thing after good thing, with no balance, no break, no rest. But that’s the point where (as Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law rightly said) a good thing becomes ‘not good’.
We push ourselves to the point of breaking, unraveling – to the point of exhaustion. Why? The truth is that we can’t carry the burden alone. We can’t serve everyone around us effectively by ourselves. The only person who was meant to bear the weight of the whole world’s problems is Jesus and He already did that.
When we try to carry alone, a load that was meant to be shared, it puts strain on us. It’s just too heavy. Jethro was right: You can’t do it all by yourself. Are there some things better done alone? Things that we should do alone? Certainly! But we can’t do it ALL alone.
A few chapters before, Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, through the Red Sea just in time for God to consume their enemies behind them. Maybe Moses was still on high from that. It was the first thing he told Jethro when he saw him. But when Jethro saw how much Moses had taken on, he being older and wiser, had to caution Moses against it.
When you take on the burden for everyone around you. When you take on all the responsibility, other people are left with no accountability for their action or inaction. “The people come to me to inquire of God”, Moses said. The Israelites stood around him from morning until night. And he really thought this was a sustainable operation! All day every day, Moses was everyone’s everything. He led them out of slavery. Through the Red Sea. God performed miracles through him. Moses was the man wasn’t he? It’s no wonder he felt solely responsible for them and the people thought they had to go to God through him.
When we take on everything for everyone, even with the purest of motives, it is very dangerous. Very twisted. You see, the problem is that you become the Savior. The one with all the answers, the one everybody runs to and leans on…the one who will fix everything. Where does that leave room for people to be pointed to Jesus? For God to be God?
You burn out and become resentful, prideful and self-righteous, judging others for their laziness. After all, you’re the only one who does anything around here! Meanwhile life is totally out of order and off-balance. And that doesn’t work. Not for long, anyway. When things are out of order, they don’t work well.
The Bible says Mary was overly occupied. Too busy to sit and listen to her Savior. Too busy serving everyone around her to savor the moment that the Savior of the world had walked into her home. Too distracted with the temporal to notice Eternity sitting in her living room. Then inevitably the resentment and weariness ensues. “Jesus is it nothing to you…”, Martha began to ask. How quick we are to blame God when we choose to take on a burden we weren’t meant to carry.
“Lord, can’t you see I’m struggling?”, “Jesus don’t you care?”. The truth is that you’ve taken on way more than is necessary. And Jesus told Martha that. Only one or a few things are needed. Sit with Jesus, get clear, prioritize and leave the rest for another time. There is only so much you can do in your own strength. God loves you so much that He allows you to work to your wit’s end so you’ll run back to HIM.
When you feel anxious and troubled like Martha, all confused and overwhelmed… That’s your cue that it’s time to stop and regroup. Time to take a breath. Time to let God lay you in green pastures, lead you beside still waters and restore your soul. Time to remember who’s the Savior and who’s the saved. Time to recall who the only hero is. His name is Jesus! Run to Him and invite those who depend on you to do the same. He will help us all to figure out our part to play as we focus on Him. Sometimes when the chips fall where they may, they fall right into place.
The Bible promises refreshing to those who refresh others. But you have to be in a posture to receive. You must be willing to accept help. Recognize that you are finite and fallible. Learn to be ok with that. Your job isn’t to be perfect. It’s to look to the One who is perfect.
Step aside. Let God be in charge. Stop over thinking and ask God for help. Then let Him help you. Lay your burdens at God’s feet. Leave them there and walk away. God is totally capable of handling everything that concerns you. Be at peace today. Find rest in the knowledge that you aren’t perfect. And you don’t have to be.