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. 19 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. 20 Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 21 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. 22 Let them serve as judges for the people at all times, but let 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. 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. 25 He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 26 They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.
27 Then Moses sent his father-in-law on his way, and Jethro returned to his own country.
Someone said, ‘God gave us two ears and one mouth, and that should tell us something!’
Also it’s been said He gave us a mouth that closes and ears that don’t, and perhaps there’s more than a hint there.
James writes these words: ‘My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.’ (Jas.1:19).
Moses, the great leader, listened to his father-in-law (a new convert, as we have seen). But then we know he was also a very humble man, and humility is teachable. It knows it has so much to learn.
Although it takes time, and possibly a little effort, we should be willing to listen to people: even those we disagree with; or those we don’t like or who don’t like us. ‘Every day is a school day’ and we have much to learn.
Jethro had wisdom and insight to share, and it was a good thing for Israel that Moses was open to receive it.
It was a good thing for Moses too!! It probably enabled him to burn on rather than burn out.
(“Emma felt that she could not now show greater kindness than in listening.”― Jane Austen)