Faithlife Sermons

From Burnout to the Burning Bush

Burning Bushes and Burnouts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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In Part 2, we learn what advice Jethro shared with Moses that helped to divert him away from the destructive landmine of burnout and how it applies to us today.

Notes
Transcript
Handout
THANK FIREWOOD TEAM!
REMIND PEOPLE OF SERMON HANDOUTS
Exodus 18:7–12 NLT
7 So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law. He bowed low and kissed him. They asked about each other’s welfare and then went into Moses’ tent. 8 Moses told his father-in-law everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and Egypt on behalf of Israel. He also told about all the hardships they had experienced along the way and how the Lord had rescued his people from all their troubles. 9 Jethro was delighted when he heard about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel as he rescued them from the hand of the Egyptians. 10 “Praise the Lord,” Jethro said, “for he has rescued you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh. Yes, he has rescued Israel from the powerful hand of Egypt! 11 I know now that the Lord is greater than all other gods, because he rescued his people from the oppression of the proud Egyptians.” 12 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God. Aaron and all the elders of Israel came out and joined him in a sacrificial meal in God’s presence.

Introduction

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Talk about our family’s Valentine’s Day Traditions
Does your family have any special Valentine’s Day traditions?
Last week, we began talking about my favorite person in the Bible, next to Jesus...

MOSES: The Man Who Knew God Face to Face

We didn’t focus on the parts that we hear about most of the time when we think about Moses like...
Commanding Pharaoh to let his people go
The plagues
or Crossing the Red Sea
Nope, the part of story we looked at last week was where...

1. Moses was on the Fast Path to Burn Out

One moment, the people were grumbling and complaining about every decision he made, and the next, they were coming to him for every need.
Instead of leading the children of Israel, Moses became a fireman, running around putting out the fires of the people.
Moses Had Gone from A Burning Bush Experience with God to A Burned-Out Administrator.
And because he was burning out...

2. Moses was Leading His People to the Same Conclusion

The people weren’t getting the care or the time they needed because one man was doing the job of literally thousands!
It was a Loose / Loose Situation for everyone
The problem was...

3. Moses Couldn’t See the Land Mines

Moses had no idea he was burning out, but his father-n-law, Jethro did!
Exodus 18:17–18 The Message
17 Moses’ father-in-law said, “This is no way to go about it. 18 You’ll burn out, and the people right along with you. This is way too much for you—you can’t do this alone.
Thank the Lord for Jethro!
He was older than Moses
He was wiser than Moses
He had been around the block a couple times more than Moses
He loved him
He had Moses’ best intentions
He had an outside vantage point
So...

What Was This ‘Fatherly’ Advice that Jethro Gave to Moses that Helped Divert Him Away from the Destructive Landmine of Burnout?

Not just for Moses, I need to know it as well!
As someone who has been through a couple seasons of deep burnout and still reeling from the effects of one today, I too desperately need to hear again what Jethro had to tell Moses.
If Jethro’s advice was helpful enough for an eighty-year-old man who...
stood up against the most powerful man/nation on earth...
witnessed the most incredible miracles short of the Messiah Himself...
and led a million people into a desert with nothing more than a promise from a God he had never known who appeared as a fire in the middle of a bush...
Then, I am sure it can help this middle-aged guy who...
as my brother says… lives in the middle of nowhere, MT...
is about as average as you can get...
:) makes skinny jeans run in horror...
and has never led over 500, let alone one million.
And if it can help me, then maybe it can be of help to you as well.
Not a silver bullet—nothing is.
But some good sage wisdom in how to keep from the landmine that increasingly getting more and more of us in this fast-paced day we live in—BURNOUT.
And we can find this ‘fatherly’ advice in...
Exodus 18:19–23 NLT
19 Now listen to me, and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should continue to be the people’s representative before God, bringing their disputes to him. 20 Teach them God’s decrees, and give them his instructions. Show them how to conduct their lives. 21 But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. 22 They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you. 23 If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.”
To keep it simple...

Jethro Broke His ‘Fatherly Advice’ Down into Two Parts...

This is What You Need to Be Doing
&
This is What You Need to Let Go
The first part was Moses...

1. THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO BE DOING

Exodus 18:19–20 The Message
19 Now listen to me. Let me tell you how to do this so that God will be in this with you. Be there for the people before God, but let the matters of concern be presented to God. 20 Your job is to teach them the rules and instructions, to show them how to live, what to do.
There’s many way’s he could have gone about it, but to keep it simple...
Jethro prepared what we might call a ‘job description’ for Moses so that he could do exactly what God wanted him to do; nothing more and nothing less.
Moses was wearing way too many hats!
So, Jethro had to have a sit-down conversation with him so he could help him to understand exactly which hats he should continue wearing and which ones he needed to take off and give to someone else.
Something I have been having to learn, relearn, relearn, and relearn a lot lately is...

What You Aren’t Supposed to do is Just as Important as Knowing What You Are Supposed to Do

Briefly talk about this.
Moses was burning out by doing everything, so Jethro gave him a few important things to focus on.
And these things became...

Moses’ Job Description:

Moses Needed to be a Representative

Focus on part B
Exodus 18:19b NLT
19 Now listen to me, and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should continue to be the people’s representative before God, bringing their disputes to him.
Jethro told Moses that he needed to continue being the people’s representative before God.
Had Moses continued being the community fireman, putting out fires everywhere, he never would have had time to do what was truly important in his life.
One was important — one was not. And Burnout keeps you from seeing which one is which!

Moses Needed to be a Teacher

Focus on part A
Exodus 18:20a NLT
20 Teach them God’s decrees, and give them his instructions. Show them how to conduct their lives.
Briefly talk about this.

Moses Needed to be an Example

Focus on part b
Exodus 18:20b NLT
20 Teach them God’s decrees, and give them his instructions. Show them how to conduct their lives.
Briefly talk about this.
It’s at this point where Jethro switches from “this is what you need to be doing” to...

2. THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO LET GO

Now that Jethro had shared that with Moses the most important things he needed to focus on, it was time for him to begin sharing with him the things he needed to let go.
And to do that...

Moses Needed to be a Delegator

Exodus 18:21–23 NLT
21 But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. 22 They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you. 23 If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.”
Moses had to let go and sometimes that is the hardest thing to do—isn’t it?
Burnout had blurred the line between the things that were essential for Moses to do and the things that keeping him from them.
Jethro simply wanted Moses to take a step back, remember what he was called to do (the important things), and then delegate the other things off to “capable, honest men who feared God and hated bribes
Delegation and who you should/shouldn’t delegate is a topic for another time, but before we go on...
Who you delegate is just as important if not more-so, than what you delegate!
Even from the very beginning...

God Never Intended for Moses to go it Alone!

Yes, God wanted to use Moses to lead the people, but He never wanted to be disconnected from them.
In fact, God actually wanted to speak to everyone, but they became afraid...
Exodus 20:19 NLT
19 And they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!”
God never intended one man to do it all.
Even Jesus called twelve guys to help Him.
Then those 12 guys called others to help them.
Even today, God’ desire isn’t to only use a select few; He desires to use everyone who has put their faith in Him!
1 Peter 2:9 NLT
9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
Talk about how God wants to use all of us.
There is no way Moses could have met all the needs of the people himself, if he were able to, then the people wouldn’t have needed God.
And that’s why...

We Have to be Careful We Don’t Set Ourselves Up As Someone Else’s god

Moses’ job wasn’t to set up himself as a new god to the Israelites; because that’s what happens when you try do everything, for everyone, all the time.
Describe a time in your life where you have struggled in this area.
Talk about this.
Moses’ job was to spend time with God, speak on His behalf, and raise up others to care for the people’s needs and disputes.
This way he could focus on his primary goal: leading the children of Israel to the Promised Land.
So, thanks to Jethro’s Dad Advice...

Moses Averted the Landmine of Burnout

Exodus 18:24–27 NLT
24 Moses listened to his father-in-law’s advice and followed his suggestions. 25 He chose capable men from all over Israel and appointed them as leaders over the people. He put them in charge of groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. 26 These men were always available to solve the people’s common disputes. They brought the major cases to Moses, but they took care of the smaller matters themselves. 27 Soon after this, Moses said good-bye to his father-in-law, who returned to his own land.
Were there other landmines that ended up in Moses’ path? Yup!
And just like us...
some he averted
and sad to say, some blew up in his face
And just like Moses...

WE CAN LEARN FROM JETHRO’S FATHERLY ADVICE

Jethro may have lived a long time ago, but we still need his words of wisdom more than ever today.
I still need them today.
Do you?
When Jethro shared with Moses “This is What You Need to Be Doing,” he shared it in the form of a “Job Description.”
Today, we might say it something more like this...

Find Your Purpose

At some point, we’ve all asked ourselves about the meaning of our lives and what we were put on earth to do.
The answer is at once simple and complex [writes Rick Warren] God created you to fulfill the purposes he’s planned for you.
It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end.”
Warren, Rick. The Purpose Driven Life (p. 22). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Who/What has God called you to be/do?
Do you know God’s purpose for your life?
This is a topic for a whole other sermon series.
However, if you find yourself in burnout, not knowing what to lay down...
You may need to start with asking God what He’s specifically called you to do—His purpose for you.
I promise, He does have a purpose and a plan for you!
Now, on the flip side...
When Jethro shared with Moses “This is What You Need to Let Go,” he told Moses that he needed to “delegate.”
Today, we might say it something more like this...

When Everything’s Important, Nothing’s Important

Burnout leads to worry and restlessness, which can lead to depression.
It has all sorts of health issues associated with it.
All of this becomes a toxic mess that creates anxiety, which makes everything seem like a fire that needs to be put out immediately.
This then begins to steal our...
Peace
Love
Joy
Patience
aka… The Fruit of the Spirit
When this happens, we stop relying on the Holy Spirit in our lives, and instead, we begin to rely on what we can do in our own strength.
aka… our flesh
That’s why people get themselves in so much trouble when they are in burnout.
Briefly talk about this.

CONCLUSION

What Was the Fruit of Jethro’s Fatherly Advice?

We find out in...
Exodus 18:23 NLT
23 If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.”
So, I got to ask...

Who’s Your Jethro?

As we have been talking about Jethro and what he did in Moses’ life, have you had a chance to think about the people who have been “Jethro’s” throughout your life?
Do you have one today?
Do you allow them to speak into your life?
Do you push them away?
I am sure thankful for all the “Jethro’s” in my life!
Share story of Rob and Viktra taking me out to lunch last year

Have You Found Your Purpose?

You’ll never truly know the things you need to keep doing if you don’t know God’s purpose for your life.
Continue talking about this if time.

Has Burnout Caused You to Live by Your Own Strength Instead of His?

Talk about this depending on time.
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