Share The Load

As a young twenty-something, I thought I could take on the world. I was Bible college-educated and already had two and a half years of part-time youth ministry experience. I was ready to turn an average church into a megachurch with all of my knowledge, experience, and wisdom. I knew the leadership of my next church would stand in amazement at the things that I would do. I wouldn’t need the help of anyone, because I have large shoulders that can take all of it. I was the literal Superman of youth ministry! Actually….. I. Was. An. Idiot. 

I stepped into my first full-time youth ministry with several volunteers and, by the end of the school year, I had no volunteers, because I did everything myself, and they just sat there watching me. With nothing to do, my adult leaders just slowly began to disappear. I couldn’t understand why they didn’t want to revel in my unbelievable skills as a minister of the Gospel of Christ. They were really missing out.

Truth be told, looking back on that, I absolutely missed the boat. In taking on that ministry by myself, I ran into roadblock after roadblock. The youth group grew from 18 teens and 25 little kids to 65 teens and over 50 little kids, and I was over my head. I kept plugging ahead, but it became impossible to handle that load of ministry. I needed a better understanding of abstinence here, but not the kind we normally think of. I needed to abstain from my control over everything.

This isn’t unique to me. We can actually read about this in the book of Exodus. Moses has just freed the Israelites from the bonds of slavery in Egypt. Now they were wandering the wilderness on their way to the promised land. Moses was appointed leader of the people of God who numbered anywhere from several hundred thousand people to potentially two million. 110 youth group kids don’t seem like much in comparison. Moses, though, must’ve gone to the same school of nonsense that I did. He tried to settle every issue that came up on his own. It was a ridiculous amount of work for one person to have to handle, and his father-in-law, Jethro, had to speak some truth into him.

When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?” And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God; when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.” Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone.”
Exodus 18:14–18

From an outsider’s perspective, Jethro saw what Moses was trying to do and knew that he had to step in. The sheer load that he was taking on was too much for anyone to handle. As men, I won’t speak for women, we tend to try and balance too much stuff. We work a full day, come home and take on projects, go to all of our kids’ practices, attend every performance and game, make time for a men’s group at church, and figure out how to get in some time with our buddies. Women can have some crazy schedules too. We’ve made the mistake over the years of feeling like we have to fill in every hour with something. 


Moses was so busy all the time trying to keep everything under his control that he wasn’t capable of resting and would soon burn out. Does this feel like you right now? I know it feels like me sometimes. We try to keep such a breakneck pace going that we eventually crash and burn. We tell ourselves we can handle it, but we know that’s not true. We start to get short with the ones we love out of frustration. We drop the ball on things that we can’t keep up with. We begin losing relationships with people we care about because we don’t have the time to invest in the relationship. We’re a bunch of control freaks who want to have control of our time but find ourselves losing control because of it.

Jethro had some great advice for Moses.

“Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.”
Exodus 18:19–23

Moses had to learn to let go of some things. As leaders, we need to understand what things are most important and focus on them. We don’t need to get caught up in the little things. As parents, we need to see the big picture. Our relationship with our children is far more important than dragging them to 1,559,802 different events every week. In our marriages, we can’t schedule our lives in such a way that our spouse becomes a stranger. It’s important that we stretch and challenge ourselves as believers and disciples of Christ. We just have to make sure we don’t stretch ourselves to the point that we tear something. Sometimes we need to abstain from the desire to do it all, find partners to work with us, and listen to Jethro’s advice, “You are not able to do it alone.”


Emily - March 18th, 2024 at 10:39pm

I would say this is the number one thing I have heard people say in the last 1, just trying to do some many things and so overwhlemed.

So, how we have got the I slow down and get back to the basics ( Kingdom mindset). Which can keep you crazier than worldly things but manage out time is what we need. We have to ask the Lord to give us wisdom and make things and people flee that aren’t suppose to be.

Thanks for this!

- March 19th, 2024 at 10:50pm

We've turned busy into some twisted spiritual discipline. We equate multiple accomplishments with holiness.