Advice | Devotion 5: “Emotional Intelligence.”
Pastor Pat Rowland
A few years ago, I was at a conference and was first introduced to this idea of “Emotional Intelligence.” I do not recall much of the talk given by Jeff Henderson, Pastor of Gwinnett Church (Georgia), but I will never forget this challenge. He said to ask someone, “What is it like to be on the other side of me?” You cannot ask that to any one person. You need to ask someone who knows you, and someone you trust enough to whom you will listen.
In Exodus chapter 18, we learn that Moses had a man in his life that he trusted and respected enough to listen to his thoughts of being on the other side of himself. Jethro was Moses’ father-in-law, who was also a Priest and a very wise man. He visits Moses and the family, and out of his concern for his son-in-law, he makes an observation.
Moses was carrying a great bit of responsibility day in and day out as God’s chosen leader of the Israelites. All day, every day, the entire nation is looking to him and seeking his counsel and direction. Exodus 18:13 says, “Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening.” As soon as he arrives at the office, people are already lined up to meet with him and to receive instruction. I do not get a sense that Moses was at all bothered by this or even complained about it. He would listen, provide counsel, and use the opportunity to teach people about God’s Word. I think he loved his job because he loved God and God’s people. There was absolutely nothing wrong with what he was doing.
Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, had a different perspective. “Moses’ father-in-law said to him, ‘What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone’” (Exodus 18:17-18). Jethro, being a leader of his own people, was more than likely familiar with the situation. He, more than anyone, understood the responsibility that Moses carried and felt led to intervene. When we are in the middle of the situation, we cannot always see what we need to see. Taking a step back, getting a break or inviting in a wise consultant, gives us a different perspective. Do you have a Jethro in your life? Do you have someone you trust enough to observe you and respect enough to listen to them?