Exodus 18:14-27 tells a familiar story. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, had observed that Moses was trying to judge all the cases himself.
Jethro knew that if this continued it would wear out both Moses and the people. So he told Moses that the work was too heavy to
undertake alone and that he should enlist the help of others.
Teachers often use this story in leadership training to emphasize the importance of shared leadership. I have used it in that context
many times myself. However, the story has a broader application. It illustrates that the Christian walk is not meant to be a solitary
journey. Rather, we are to embrace support from other believers along the way. A few years ago Hezekiah Walker and the Love
Fellowship Choir recorded a song, I Need You to Survive, which conveys this message in a powerful way.
However, many Christians have difficulty accepting support from others for a variety of reasons. The desire for control, lack of trust,
pride, even introversion are some the reasons why we exclude others. Yet, David wrote, “Iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the
countenance of his friends” (Proverbs 27:17). The idea is that people grow from interaction with one another. Thus, God intends for
believers to have relationship with one another and to support each other in ministry, joys and sorrows, and times of spiritual
Joshua used two men as spies for him in Jericho (Joshua. 2:1). He understood the necessity of using others to get complete information
before attacking a land because he once fulfilled that mission himself. Although Nehemiah could not share what God had revealed to
him about rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, he did carry a few men along when he went to inspect the wall (Nehemiah. 2:12).
There are numerous accounts of disciples going out in pairs to spread the word. Jesus sent the “70 others” out in pairs (Luke 10:1).
The Book of Acts illustrates that the apostles often ministered in pairs: Peter and John (3), Judas and Silas (15:32), Paul and Barnabas
(15:35), Paul and Silas (15:40).
Paul’s writings indicate that he extensively used others to support his ministry. He asked Timothy to be his traveling companion and
started the church in Philippi with his help. He specifically mentions many who worked with him in the cause of the gospel such as
Euodia, Syntyche, and Clement (Philippians 4:3) and Pheobe, Prisca and Acquila (Romans 16:1-3). Further, Barnabas was a great
encourager to Paul and, in fact, was the one who convinced the apostles in Jerusalem to accept him as a disciple of Christ (Acts 9:26-
In joy and sorrow
Romans 12: 15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Hence, Christians should not be indifferent to
the sufferings or joys of other believers. When Mary became pregnant with Jesus she went to visit Elizabeth, who was expecting as
well. The two ladies spent the next three months together (Luke 1:56), no doubt rejoicing that they would give birth to men who would
change forever the plight of God’s people.
When Jesus was about to face execution He took three apostles with him to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He wanted the
company of His closest disciples during his time of exceeding sorrow (Matthew 26:38). Further, James 5:14 says that the sick “must”
call for the church elders who will pray for them and anoint them with oil.
In time of spiritual weakness
Most Christians will experience periods of spiritual weakness, which can be brought on by factors such as doubt, fear, persecution, or
fleshly desires. However, this IS NOT the time to isolate ones-self from fellow believers. In Proverbs 11:14 we are instructed that
believers will fall when they receive no counsel, but will find safety in the multitude of counselors. When doubt, fear, or other
weakness occurs is the time when we need the companionship of other Christians the most. Addressing Christians who were
experiencing persecution, the writer of Hebrews expresses the importance of believers assembling together to “stimulate one another to
love and good deeds” (Hebrew 10:24-25).
God recognized early in mankind’s existence that it is not good for His children to be alone. Thus, he intends for us serve others and be
served as well. When we refuse to engage others in our journey we deny them the opportunity to minister to us by using their spiritual
gifts such wisdom, serving (helps), and mercy. Further, we place an undue burden on ourselves by carrying a load that is meant to be
shared. Does this mean that believers should accept the company of just anyone? Not so! Proverbs 13:20 instructs that keeping
company with wise men makes one wise, but associating with a fool….I think you get the point! As Jethro instructed Moses, select
“able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain” (Exodus 18:21).
Jesus said when two or three believers are gathered in His name He is there too! (Matthew 18:20). Feeling alone and weary in your
Christian walk? Then invite someone to accompany you on your journey today!
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