Jethro and Bearing Burdens

September 4, 2022   /   Faith Alliance Church


Bearing Burdens is an act of Grace when things are too heavy.

Exodus 18:13–16 ESV

The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. 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.”

• Jethro realizes that there is a problem.

You and the people will certainly wear yourselves out; The thing is too heavy for you

Exodus 18:17–18 ESV

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.

• Jethro realizes that this is not sustainable for a flourishing community. That everyone comes to one person and relies on one person.

• This doesn’t actually lead to helping people, it leads to wearing people out.

You are not able to do it alone

Exodus 18:18 ESV

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.

• This is a necessary understanding. We are at our clearest when we understand this truth.

• Jethro gets to Moses before things crash land. Jethro hints at it, he says this is the track you are on, but he reaches Moses before it happens.

• Because he realizes that if he keeps going he will literally not be able to do it alone. He will need others.

Romans 15:1–7 ESV

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

• Christianity must always be you plus one.

• The first plus one is Jesus.

• When things (sin) became too heavy for us, Christ bore our burdens. He is the act of grace we need.

They will bear the burden with you

Exodus 18:19–22 ESV

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.

• Bearing burdens is an act of grace. Grace from God that we learn to express to others.

God will direct you; You will be able to endure

• And Jethro ties the connection between bearing burdens with one another and God directing

Exodus 18:23 ESV

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.”

How do we do this? Where do we begin? We see the ending. We see the place of peace, we see that it only happens with others. But where do we start?

I’m going to give you four options.

We welcome

• This is a generous and general posture of arms wide open. When people enter into our lives, there is a hospitality in Christianity that comes with that. To welcome is to recognize that someone else is there. It is an opening of the arms.

We invite

• This is a step beyond welcome where we aren’t just glad that people are around us, we invite them into our space, into our circles. To invite is to make room for others. It is the act of waiting for the other.

To Embrace

• This is to support and hold when needed. It is a mutually agreed upon act that goes beyond inviting because you are not just letting people into your space, you are letting them into your personhood. This is the act of closing your arms.

We extend grace

• Because this does not always go perfectly. We need to extend grace to one another. To forgive one another. To not allow distance to get in the way or bitterness or anger.

We can do this because Christ has done all of this for us. He has welcomed and invited and embraced and extended grace to us. Our role is to live in Him in such a way that we can live that toward each other.


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