Saturday, March 8, 2008

Too Much of a Good Thing

"Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone." (Exodus 18:18)

"If you want something done, ask a busy person." This maxim may work well for the asker, but what about the poor, overworked "ask-ee?" We are all quick to condemn the sin of laziness (and rightfully so), but how many of us recognize the same possibility of sin in busy-ness? Why is unquestionably good activity always assumed to be unquestionably appropriate all the time? I would not presume to question another's choice of service or motivation, especially in light of Jesus' words to Peter in John 21:21-22; but I think it might be good for each of us to acknowledge that we, too, might not be above falling into the same trap Moses did.

In all probability, most of us are working at break-neck pace because we love the Lord. But, on the other hand, there are other possibilities. One could be striving to make up for a true or only perceived inadequacy in another area of his or her life. Or perhaps there is a driving need to appear to be indispensable to an individual or organization. Either of these motivations can generate the same kind of behavior, while, at the same time, provide a feeling of control that some are not comfortable without.

It's possible to set a pace for ourselves that not only wears us out, but affects those around us in an adverse way, as well. ("Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee…”) But, Moses' father-in-law assured him, if he would agree to slow down and share the load, both he and all the people could "go to their place in peace" (v.23).

You will look in vain for an example of our Lord conducting His Father's business with any of the frenzy you and I are so susceptible to. But then, maybe our business is more important than His business.

There may be over-doing even in well-doing.

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