Lent: A Drawing a Day...Day 2

by Edward Traub


pastel, gold paint, watercolor on black paper

12 7/8" x 12 7/8"

"The thing you are doing is not right; you will surely wear yourself out, and these people as well.  For the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone."  (Exodus 18:17-18)

Jethro, Moses father-in-law, enters the Exodus story a couple times.  I like him.  He seems wise in a way that keeps a healthy distance from all the hustle of Moses and Zipporah leading the Hebrews out of slavery and all.  And it's a good thing he enters when he does.  Moses is working too hard, he's taking the "messiah complex" a bit too far (his name comes from the word for "messiah," which doesn't help the matter).  Jethro kindly and wisely advises Moses with the words above.

We've all probably heard words like this more than we'd like to admit, but it' worth considering anew the idea that wearing ourselves out is a great way to wear everyone else out.  Even our "good" work, or our motives for doing that work, can be an idol.

In this text, Jethro comes as the first "leadership guru," and he begins his counsel with the call to rest...and then offers some stellar advise.  Moses, then (much to his credit) humbly takes that advise.

We cannot go it alone, caring for ourselves is a communal act which spills over into the lives of those around us.