Avoiding Burn-Out

Read Exodus 18:13-27

“Burn-out” has become a trendy excuse for quitting. In the midst of frustration, people make rash decisions, blaming burn-out as the culprit. There’s something about burn-out I’ve never understood:  If we’re acting in obedience to God, why would He set us up for failure?

Moses came close to burning out–until his father-in-law came to the rescue. Moses had assumed full  responsibility for listening to even the most minute issues of the people he led. Imagine hundreds of thousands of people standing in line, waiting to unload their personal burdens so the faithful leader would solve their problems and tell them what to do. The danger here was three-fold: (1) Moses was enabling the people instead of letting them think for themselves; (2) The people had unreasonable expectations of Moses; (3) Other capable leaders were not being used in their gifts.

Fortunately, Jethro observed a disaster in the making, and he challenged his son-in-law:

What is this you are doing for the people?

Why do you alone sit as judge while all these people stand around you? Exod. 18:14

Jethro suggested a balanced plan that would spread the work out among other capable leaders. Fortunately, Moses followed his advice which, I believe, saved him physically and emotionally. The last thing the Israelites needed was a burned out leader in the middle of the desert!

Later, Jethro affirmed Moses: “If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied” (Exod. 18:23). The Lord has given each of us limits, mostly to protect us from ourselves. The last thing the people we lead need is a burn-out leader–in the middle of the desert!

What are YOU doing for the people?