Day 13

Wednesday, March 3
Exodus 17-18

When I enrolled in a theological graduate program in 2011, I was a bit older than many of my fellow students. I’d been a therapist for almost a decade before deciding to become a pastor, working with young survivors of sexual assault, and those years had opened my eyes to some of the painful realities that my future congregation members very likely faced. I knew that some of my peers were survivors themselves, and I felt the need we all faced for education in this arena. Wanting to help, I decided to put together a conference about ministry with survivors of sexual assault and abuse, setting to work on it as a full-time student, employee, husband, and father in the middle of my final year of graduate school.

I didn’t know anything about working through proper channels in an educational institution. I had very little knowledge about how to find speakers or how to raise funds to compensate them, nor did I realize what I’d have to do in order to reserve space in the calendar of a busy school for all of this to happen. I also didn’t know how to get my classmates and others outside of the school to pay attention and take part. It was a good thing to see a need for this gathering, and I knew that many would benefit from it. But even with good intent and my heart in the right place, I couldn’t do this on my own. I needed help from others, and desperately. Thankfully, gracious classmates, professors, and mentors noticed this need, stepping in to help make connections, encourage participation, raise support, and make the conference a success.

In the 18th chapter of Exodus, Moses also recognized the need for a new thing. The people of Israel weren’t receiving the justice that they deserved, and Moses took it upon himself to serve as their judge. Although Moses’ heart was in the right place, he couldn’t possibly meet all of their needs by himself. In order for positive change to happen, Moses required the wisdom and support of other people. As his father-in-law said, “The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it on your own” (Exodus 18:17). Moses wanted to bring greater health and order to his people, but his proposed solution ignored a very human need: his own. It simply wasn’t his sole responsibility to help everyone. The people also needed to join in the labor of compassion, working alongside Moses to seek justice and wholeness in their lives and relationships.

Perhaps you too are recognizing the heavy needs of other people.
Perhaps you sense God’s invitation to love, care, and help others.

This is good, necessary work, but it does not need to be yours alone. For your sake and the sake of those you are seeking to help, ask others for their wisdom and support. Together, your labors are likely to yield far richer results.

Reflection by Rev. Adam Baker
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