The Shared Burden

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings
Exodus 16-18, Matthew 18:1-20

24 Moses listened to his father-in-law’s suggestions and did everything that he had said. 25 Moses chose capable persons from all Israel and set them as leaders over the people, as officers over groups of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. 26 They acted as judges for the people at all times. They would refer the hard cases to Moses, but all of the minor cases they decided themselves. 27 Then Moses said good-bye to his father-in-law, and Jethro went back to his own country (Exodus 18:24-27, Common English Bible).


I had a friend, some years ago, who was a school teacher. He taught industrial technology. It was metal shop on steroids. He loved working with kids and seeing them improve. Many of his students, upon leaving high school had the job skills to send them straight into the workforce where they were productive. Being at a school where few kids planned to go to college and where kids often left school before graduation. This particular school had among the highest drop out rates of any school in Houston.

At the beginning of every school year, he would give the kids problems to solve. It wasn’t a math problem, he wasn’t any more of a mathlete than I am (I still say math was invented by demon possessed people who are trying to drive us all nuts). These problems included things like writing the directions for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich where students would learn the devil is in the details. Another was to make a vehicle that could fly a paperclip 25 feet and it couldn’t be an airplane. The point was to look for the obvious/easy answers first.

Another exercise he did with his students as to divide them into groups and set them at some of the tables in the shop. Each table had a box of supplies and they couldn’t use anything that was not in the box. They were to build a tower as tall as possible to teach them the importance of teamwork. He loved to say, “All of us are smarter than one of us.”

Moses was overwhelmed. He was trying to lead this group of probably more than a million people. The reading for today said six hundred thousand men. That didn’t include women and children. So that would likely mean well over a million. That is a huge group for one man to lead, hear complaints both large and small, judge and who knows what else.

Moses was overwhelmed. So he set up a system where a case went before other judges first. Then only the most difficult issues went to Moses. It was teamwork that ruled the day. As my friend said, all of us are smarter than one of us.

Those students shared the burden of the project. It is what made them successful. And he taught them in a unique way the students will never forget. The students will be more successful when they share the burden.

A few churches back, we were getting ready for something I can’t remember. One of the men came up to me and said, “We need a good visitation program to canvas the city and invite people to come to church. Preacher, you want to take care of that. You have plenty of time.”

“We can’t do this. We plan to keep our pastor for a while” someone else said.

The first person truly believed that preachers only worked on Sunday. He had in mind that instead of sitting around the office doing nothing, I could be out there drumming up more business.

My reply was, “When you have time I would be glad to accompany you.” We never went out visiting.

I knew this was going to be difficult alone. But, when we have a team to share the burden, the difficult becomes not only something we can do, it can become simple.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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