releasing service

Susan loves to help people. She is very organized. She is creatively thrifty. She has foodbank experience. So when she responded to a request for helpers, I was excited.

A couple years before, we started making some basic personal items available at our church for people who were referred by the town foodbank. We have a source for toilet paper and other paper goods, deodorant and other personal items, diapers and other baby items. They come in large quantities, like 48 rolls of toilet paper in a bag or 64 ounces of laundry soap in a bottle. It seems unfair to give the whole bottle to one person. But no one had time to do it right.

Until Susan responded to a request for helpers.

The challenge was that it looked like something I was in charge of. So here’s what happened. I remembered that my call isn’t to run the distribution. It’s to help people help. Then I talked with her about who we are and how we go about helping. And then I said, “you do it. You have the heart for it. And the wisdom.”

For me, that’s a perfect illustration of Jethro’s instructions to Moses. His final suggestion was to release people to serve in ways appropriate to their capacity. Jethro said to pick people to serve as judges for groups of 1000 or 100 or 50 or 10. They would handle the cases that were easily decided based on the laws that Moses had been teaching and illustration. Moses could still handle tough ones, but most disputes could be handled by someone else with training and gifts.

It’s clear that there were levels of capacity. The group sizes show us that. Sometimes people only have time or energy for 10, not 1000.

But once Moses trained and let go, he could breath.


I’m also releasing the first look at A Great Work, my upcoming book on Nehemiah. Take a look at the page for downloads: A Great Work