Reaching Your Limit: A Bible Study for Asbury's Worship
(October 10 & 11)
by Rev. Lee Johnson
october 10, 2020
Years ago, I began my ministry serving as a Youth Pastor. Those were enjoyable, rewarding, and challenging days. One church had the tradition of a January ski trip to Colorado. Three busloads full of teenage skiers, more than 100 youth. We’d leave Kansas City at 6 p.m. on a Friday and arrive the next morning in Winter Park ready to ski. See what I mean: challenging! Every year on that first morning, just before heading to the slopes, I would tell the youth the same thing: “Know your limit and ski within it.” Translation: if you are a green slope beginner, don’t be tempted by a black diamond. The goal was to have fun, but for everyone to return home safely. “Know your limit and ski within it.” Have you ever been stretched beyond your limit, and not just physically? Like, have you ever said, “I’ve just about reached my limit.” If so, what was happening that caused you to realize your limit had been stretched?
Somewhere in the Old Testament story of Exodus, Moses sends his wife, Zipporah, and two sons back home to Midian to live with his wife’s family. In her book Strengthening the Soul, Ruth Haley Barton speculates on what caused Moses to make such a decision. Apparently, Barton writes, Moses became overwhelmed by the task before him, leading the Israelites out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. You might say he was skiing beyond his limit. No longer could he fulfill the obligations of being a good partner and father. So, to create much needed extra space and time in his life, Moses sends those dearest to him home to live with the in-laws. In Exodus 18, though, Jethro, Zipporah’s father, returns his daughter and grandchildren to Moses with some well-pointed words of advice. What do you think of Moses' decision to send his spouse and children away? What kind of decisions have you had to make when your limit had been reached?
Take a minute and ponder Jethro’s advice to his son-in-law, Moses: “What you are doing is not good. You will surely wear yourself out, both you and these people with you. For the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.” God had given Moses a big responsibility, moving people from one place to another. But, God never said to Moses that the responsibility was his alone. Jethro points this out - there are others, just as faithful as Moses, who can help. Remember the advice I gave the youth group: “Know your limit and ski within it?” I also told them: “Don’t ski alone.” Not only was Moses working beyond his limit, you might say he was skiing alone. As Jethro says: “What you are doing is not good.” I’ve often thought these past couple of months: the COVID pandemic is stretching our limits. What we are having to do is not good. No one should do it alone. When have you attempted to go it alone? How have you intentionally included others in your life these past six months?
Exodus 18:1-3a, 17-19a.
Asbury's Weekend Worship: https://www.visitasbury.org/worship/
Beginning Saturday, October 10 at 5:00 pm
“Send others to help me this week, God.”