I’m going to give you a really long passage of Scripture here to introduce this post. I wanted to warn you first so that you hold on and don’t give up right away. This is a passage and a point that has been on my heart for the past few months, and I’d really like to share it with you.
The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”
Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”
Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”
Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.
To summarize all of this, Jethro has told Moses, the pastor over all the people, to choose from among them individuals who can serve as pastors among them.
What we have here is a realization that one man can’t be the sole dispensary of God’s Word. God has called our pastor to teach us, to show us how to live in this world for the world that is to come. At the same time, God has called us, as disciples of Jesus, to learn and grow and then pass that on to others, first in our own homes and then in our circle of friends. This is especially true of the men in our church. We have been given the responsibility to lead and serve our families sacrificially, just like Jesus did for us. (Ephesians 5:25-30)
Our pastor teaches us, guides us, corrects us, and we should do the same for others. This is how family works—parents raise their first-born, who then serves as an example and role model for the others—and it’s how the family of God should work as well.
For more on this idea of how we in the church—and not just the pastor—should help to teach and guide others, read the New Testament book of Titus. (It’s short, I promise.)