Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Biting Off Too Much to Chew

Amanda took on too much work. When her science class had team projects, she wanted to do an excellent job—and the others let her. She organized the meetings, did the research, typed the reports, and made the displays. When her youth group collected food for the homeless, Amanda went door to door every night after school and all day Saturday. She carted the canned goods to the church in her brother’s wagon. She went along to deliver food to the shelter downtown. The following week, due to exhaustion and a weakened immune system, she caught a nasty virus. Amanda meant well, but taking on too much responsibility hurt her.

Moses once did the same thing. Moses tried to handle all the questions and problems of several million Israelite people. From morning to night, he wore himself out listening to all their problems himself. It was too much. He couldn’t handle it alone. He needed a plan to share the work with others. “What you are doing is not good,” [his father-in-law told him.] “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.” Exodus 18: 17-18 (NIV)

We need to use wisdom when agreeing to jobs. If you “bite off more than you can chew,” you may end up sick (and unable to do all you promised.) If your job turns out to be more time-consuming than you expected, it’s all right to ask for help. Amanda needed to learn that she couldn’t do it all. Sometimes we feel if we don’t do it all, it won’t get done right. Sometimes that’s true—but usually it’s not. We can let others help. It’s great to work hard, but find a healthy balance.

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