What is your weakness?
I ask students this question often to help them prepare for interviews. It’s one of the hardest questions for students to answer. But for me, I know my weakness.
While there are many, I’m sure, my greatest is that I can’t say no.
I’m a yes person! Yes, I will help with that project! Yes, I will take on this new role at work! Yes, I’m a team player and I will do this for our group! Yes, I’ll add that to my schedule!
As I scan my color-coded calendar, I seek a spot to squeeze it in. Pretty soon, I’m like the guy with the spinning plates act. You’ve seen it. He’s got a plate spinning on a stick and then he adds another and another and another. All while making sure that the plates he started with never stop spinning.
Why do I do this? I’m sure part of it is my desire to serve and please others. Another part is control. Yes, there, I said it. I have control issues. Just ask my mother-in-law about what shelf the mustard goes on. I like order. I like rules. I like schedules. I like things to be done a specific way – my way. Anyone else? Or just me? I don’t like being this way, but boy it tends to run a strong game.
But what happens when there are too many plates? Or what if there’s a disturbance, like wind, or the ground shakes, or a dog runs loose?
Those plates will fall. All that running leaves you tired, weak and not only are you not able to spin those plates anymore, but you aren’t very useful to others.
Moses has led the Israelites out of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea on dry land and has brought them through the wilderness. All along the way, it has been Moses leading. He was the mouthpiece of God. God would speak to Moses and then he would relate it to the people. And vice versa. This became a pretty standard practice and Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, noticed the toll it was taking on him.
“And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening.
And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even?
And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to enquire of God:
When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.” (Exodus 18:13-16)
From morning until night, Moses was the mediator and judge over the people. He was the only one doing the job and Jethro knew he wouldn’t be able to keep it up for long.
“And Moses’ father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good. Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone. Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do. Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.” (Exodus 18:17-23)
Delegation. Jethro suggested that Moses delegate some of the responsibilities to well-qualified people in order to have a better working system and to relieve him of all of the responsibilities.
Moses listened and did as Jethro suggested. I’m sure it wasn’t easy, letting go of control never is. But Moses was the product of that very thing. His own mother had to place him in a basket, releasing her control over the situation and allow God to be in control.
Here’s a little secret: God is always in control, we just think we are. It’s like me pushing on the buttons on Mission:Space at Disney World thinking I am really doing something when in all reality, I have no control over it.
What do you need to let go of today? God asks for our full surrender. I know it’s not easy, believe me. But surrender in all aspects of your life. We can’t just give him Sunday mornings. We can’t just say, “okay Lord, you can help with this, but this other stuff over here, I’ve got this”.
Let go and let God.