Exodus 18:20 “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.”
Jethro had brought Moses his wife and children while he camped with the children of Israel in the wilderness. Moses’ father-in-law spent time with him and talked to him about many things going on in Israel. He gave Moses advice on how to judge matters among the people and to appoint men of trust to oversee the smaller matters needing judged, or Moses would wear himself out. One other matter Jethro spoke of by prophecy of the Spirit is that Moses would teach the people God’s laws and ways and show them how to live for God and the work they must do for God.
Jethro’s words to Moses were of no little significance; Moses would teach God’s people the laws and ways to live for God. When God calls a person to lead his sheep/people, the responsibility that comes with that election is also of no little significance. The person serving as God’s mouthpiece on earth has to maintain a healthy relationship with the Father and stay in constant communion with God. As a minister of the gospel, I am continually learning of the weights and responsibilities that are associated with the role of servant of the Most High. Too often people yearn to be in ministry but are unwilling to pay the price that comes with the office.
When I read in the NT of the life of the apostle Paul and all he went through, I sometimes shudder at the trials he endured but also rejoice to know that my brother of 2,000 years ago wrote down words of encouragement that spur me on toward the high calling of God and the finish line in heaven. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-29, Paul wrote,
Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
So then, we could call these the qualifications for someone who is called of God to lead his people. Jesus told Paul of the persecutions and suffering he must endure as His servant. I may go through any and all of these things, but it gives me great confidence to know that if God’s grace was sufficient to bring my brother Paul through all of this, then how much the more can God’s grace bring me through the trials and tribulations I must endure as God’s servant. I have learned that being an under-shepherd of the Great Shepherd requires lots and lots of love, grace, humility, compassion, understanding, and patience. Sheep, as dumb and seemingly docile as they appear, DO BITE! Leading God’s people is no easy task. We, the leaders, must take all direction from the Father by grace through empowerment of the Spirit as we teach the Word of God to His people.
Father, I cry today as I sit writing this prayer to You because I know that many men mightier than I have served You in the past and gone through tremendous things to bring Your Word to them and to teach them how to live in covenant relationship with the Creator, Father, and Friend. I cannot even begin to do this work without You. Sometimes I feel like Moses and want to offer every excuse possible as to why You want to use me as Your servant, but I digress and reach out to You for wisdom and guidance in leading Your people. I pray the prayer of Solomon and ask for nothing more than wisdom, Your wisdom, so that I may teach the truth of Scripture to Your flocks and be a true witness to them and the lost world around us. There is a great harvest awaiting us laborers, and I pray that You send us out there as sheep among the wolves. I trust completely in You, my Dad! Thank you for loving me and choosing me as one of Your tools to deliver Your message to the people. In Jesus’ name, Amen.