BC_Blog

Jethro’s advice: we can all help each other


Posted 03 Feb 2014

On 21/Nov/2013 I wrote a blog entitled “Pastor visiting, a thing of the past?” This is an additional entry in light of new data!

I just re-read about Moses & the Hebrew people in the Exodus from Egypt, specifically where Jethro (Moses- father-in-law) visits him & observes Moses sitting all day long, judging in cases of dispute between all present (remember that’s perhaps upwards of 2 million people!) [1]

What stands out to me is Jethro’s advice to Moses:
1) “Select capable men from all the people… and appoint them as officials (judges, arbiters)
2) Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves.
3) That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you.
4) If you do this, and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain,
5) and all these people will go home satisfied.”

Moses puts that plan of action into place; appoints capable judges; the people’s disputes are resolved much more quickly; & Moses’ doesn’t get leader-burn out!

The point that grabbed my attention (point 3) above) was in contrast to what I was advocating in my previous post. Previously I had wondered if more pastor visits to a congregation would be helpful & useful in showing the love of God to people. But this narrative (Moses & Jethro) shows that a single leader can not expect to (or be expected to) meet the needs of his flock, no matter how large or small it is. He needs help in that work.

As some people commented on my original post (“Pastor visiting, a thing of the past?”) it is very difficult for a single person to visit all the people they know are in need, especially as pastors are often overseeing more than one congregation. Pastor’s are busy people. So was Moses, as the narrative clearly states. That’s why it seems like a great idea to get more than one person involved in carrying the load… if you can!

So my new, Bible-inspired suggestion would be that “capable people” (not just men, surely?!) should be looked for & appointed to help the pastor carry his load of pastoral visitation & congregational support. That way, “you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.” Sounds like a win-win to me!

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Bible Reference:
[1]
Exodus 18:13-23 (ANIV)
13 The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood round him from morning till evening. 14 When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand round you from morning till evening?”
15 Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and laws.”
17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”



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