Who Is Your Jethro?

Image courtesy of scottchan @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of scottchan @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In Exodus 18 you will find the story of Moses and his father-in-law Jethro. In a nutshell, Jethro gets wind of  God’s greatness in how He delivered Moses and the people of Israel from Egypt and decides it is time to reunite Moses with his wife and two sons after a time of separation since Moses had sent her away. After catching up with Moses about all the things God had done for Israel, the next day Jethro has an opportunity to go to work with Moses and watch him in action. We  pick up the story there:

14 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?” 15 Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and laws.” 17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 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.

Do you have a Jethro in your life who is concerned for your family and will take time to observe what you’re doing, asking the hard questions about your work?  Moses worked for his father-in-law as a shepherd (Exodus 3), so Jethro knew he was a hard worker, and had a passion for the work God gave him to do. Most of us are just like Moses, we have an outstanding work ethic and we love what we do! However, Jethro must have took some notes during Moses’ employment because I believe he had some suspicion that though Moses worked harder than anyone he knew, he didn’t always work smarter,often to his family’s dismay.

Why You Need a Jethro

Jethros don’t just ask how you are doing, they ask you why you are doing what you are doing.  Many of us who love our work don’t give a second thought to why we work the way we do. After all, if we are getting our job done that must be a good thing. Jethro asked Moses a simple question, “Why are you doing your job alone when there’s all these people around you that could give you a hand?”  What would be your answer to this question about a current project that has been assigned to you? Many times we are so overwhelmed with responsibility that we never acknowledge the reality that there are people around us who can help.  Instead we work alone because we know how to do it best! I write that with sarcasm.

Jethros can help you see  problems that you cannot see. We’ve all worked hard and sacrificed time with our families for the sake of the call, but sadly often times we don’t see the problems it’s going to cause down the road in our personal lives, marriage and relationships with our kids. Though Jethro was concerned about Moses’ welfare, he was also concerned about the people Moses was trying to help. Jethros understand that when they help you they are helping the people around you too!

Jethros not only tell you the truth, they show you the way of truth. Truth hurts only if it doesn’t help. If Jethro would have just pointed out the problem, spoke the truth, and headed back to Midian, Moses wouldn’t have survived as a leader. Jethro spoke truth that paved the way to a strategic solution. Jethros will tell you whats wrong, but they will also show you the way to fix it. In this case he instructed Moses how to put a leadership structure in place that would lighten his load.

23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.” 24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. 

However you’re doing your work, is there a better way to be doing it for the better health of yourself, your family and your organization?

Who is your Jethro and are you  listening to what he or she is telling you?


  1. says

    Loved the post, Dean. What jumped out at me is the phrase, “Truth hurts only if it doesn’t help.” So true. People can point out problems but when people point out solutions to the problems it can be life-giving. Enjoyed the read.

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