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Categorized | From the Pulpit

Bridging the gaps

Pastor Dallas Burgeson

The Springs Church

135 N. Grant St., Cedar Springs

 

In Exodus chapter 18, Moses meets up with his father-in-law Jethro for the first time in a long time. It had been a wild series of months for Moses and his wife, Zipporah, and their kids had been staying with Grandpa Jethro during that time. Moses had confronted Pharoah and showed him God’s breathtaking signs and wonders each time he wouldn’t allow God’s people to leave their slavery in Egypt. When they were finally allowed to go, Moses raised his staff over the Red Sea at God’s command and they had crossed over it on dry land. Once rescued from Pharoah’s army, Moses again watched God provide water and food for all of them almost out of nowhere.

Through all of this, Moses had gotten used to being “the guy.” Everybody came to him for help, and to know what to do next. As Jethro witnessed the extent to which this scenario had shaped Moses’ lifestyle—watching him serve as not only prophet, priest, and leader of God’s people, but as morning-to-evening judge over their affairs—this wise father-in-law had something to say:

 This is not good! You’re going to wear yourself out – and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself. Now let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you.

Jethro went on to tell Moses to continue leading, but to raise up other leaders as well—leaders who could help share the load. The idea was that most of the leading could be done by these other trustworthy leaders, while Moses could still be called upon to determine the most difficult situations. Thankfully, Moses listened and did exactly what Jethro suggested.

Do we follow Jethro’s advice today? Passing down our skills, our gifts, our best practices, and our hearts and souls to others, seems to have mostly fallen out of use in a lot of areas of life. It used to be more commonplace to see skills and trades passed down in this way, similar to what we see among people such as electricians today with the progression of helper, apprentice, journeyman, and—finally—master. Now, instead of each new generation working together with those who came before, there is almost a civil war. There seems to be no understanding—let alone appreciation—for what other generations bring to the whole.

God has not only honored but actually counted on the practice of our passing faith in Christ down to each successive generation. I believe the challenge for our society today is not only to be faithful to what we pass down (the Good News of Jesus), but to the method itself. Could each of us take the advice of an old Midianite priest, and reach out again to a generation above and one below? Could doing so aid in bridging gaps, fostering genuine friendships, and healing division? I think it would be a start.

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