When Jethro gives Moses advice on how to judge the people and settle their disputes, Moses accepts the wisdom as a gift. How are you at accepting the input of others into your life or your work? Do you welcome the guidance of others or are you too proud to listen?
13 The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. 14 When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”
15 Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”
17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.
22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”
Moses listened to his Father-in-law Jethro when he advised him to establish judges to deal with the disputes of the people. Moses was becoming burnt out from spending all his time acting as the sole judge of the people, as well as the intermediary between the people and God.
What strikes me about this passage, however, is that Jethro observed that Moses could lead the people better than he was and he took the time to invest in Moses through some coaching and mentoring. And Moses accepted Jethro’s wisdom as a gift.
There are people to whom you cannot tell anything. Know some of them? I do. Some are old dogs who won’t learn new tricks. Others are young people who think they know everything already. And some are just trying to look good and not be viewed as less than perfect. And so they don’t want to hear the wisdom or advice of others.
Proverbs 15:22 says “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” No kidding. I’ve learned that lesson before. And it starts with humility.
When we can humble ourselves to accept the input and investment of others, and especially of those who love us and care for us, we will be further ahead. God is our ultimate guide, yet he has prepared loving brothers and sisters around us to help us and spur us along.
Want some advice? Accept the gift of advice from others.