Forest Lake Talks

11/8/22 Devotional from Ed

November 8, 2022

Text: Exodus: 18:13-23

13 The next day Moses sat as judge for the people, while the people stood around him from morning until evening. 14 When Moses’s 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, while all the people stand around you from morning until evening?” 15 Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 When they have a dispute, they come to me, and I decide between one person and another, and I make known to them the statutes and instructions of God.” 17 Moses’s father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You will surely wear yourself out, both you and these people with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. 19 Now listen to me. I will give you counsel, and God be with you! You should represent the people before God and bring their cases to God. 20 Teach them the statutes and instructions and make known to them the way they are to go and the things they are to do. 21 You should also look for able men among all the people, men who fear God, are trustworthy, and hate dishonest gain; set them as officers over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. 22 Let them sit as judges for the people at all times; let them bring every important case to you but decide every minor case themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people will go to their homes in peace.”

Devotional: Moses has a lot going on. He's responsible for leading the Israelites, he's a judge, he's a counselor, and he may still be wrestling with the emotional struggles endured as he's tried to discern God's word and manage everything else.

Enter Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, who sees his tired son-in-law running on an empty tank and tells him to start delegating. We now have biblical evidence that delegating is OK and even needed in order to make society work. We cannot control everything. The key, though, is Jethro tells Moses to look for "able" leaders who are "trustworthy and hate dishonest gain."

When I jogged past AC Flora this morning and saw all of the political signs of candidates from both major parties waiting to greet voters, I was reminded of how fortunate we are that we get to go to the voting booths and truly have a chance to make an impact on a local, state, or national race. Unless we are running for office, we are delegating the task of political leadership to someone else. This is a powerful responsibility for both the voter and the elected official.

As this passage above indicates, delegating requires thoughtfulness. It requires action (voting, in our case). As we know, it is always sound advice to choose those who are trustworthy and in it for the larger good in any delegating situation.

When we hire staff members, caretakers, choose a college, choose a church, wouldn't we want those tasked with carrying out the work to be trustworthy and conscious of the collective good? If so, would Jethro tell us to do the same when we vote for those seeking public office?

Prayer: Holy God, fill our city, county, state, and nation with your Spirit. Thank you for the chance to gift of living in a country where we can freely vote, and we pray your Spirit will find its way into the hearts and voices of all who seek office. Give each candidate the courage to not return any evil for evil, and may their words, their actions, be pleasing to you. Take their lips and let them be filled with messages from thee, O Lord. Amen.

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