Jethro’s Advice by Carolyn Tucker

Keys to the Kingdom By Carolyn Tucker



I know of two people named “Jethro.” When I was growing up, one of my favorite TV  series was The Beverly Hillbillies. Jethro was part of the weekly cast who portrayed the silly enthusiastic son of Pearl Bodine. He was a champion crawdad eater who considered being a brain surgeon, but later changed his mind to be a double-knaught spy like 007. He had a huge appetite and would eat his cereal in a large mixing bowl. The truck tire blew to smithereens when he aired it up with his mouth, much to his Ma’s annoyance. His main goal was to meet perty girls. Jethro needed lots of advice and Uncle Jed often told him, “Jethro, one of these days, you and me is gonna have a long talk.”


The other Jethro was Moses’ father-in-law. Moses married Zipporah and they lived with Jethro, the priest of Midian. During those 40 years, Moses and Jethro developed a solid relationship of a high order. After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, Jethro heard about everything God had done, so he came to Moses in the wilderness. Jethro was delighted to hear about all the miracles God had performed. As usual, the next day, Moses personally took the full load as judge for the 2 million or more people. When Jethro saw all that he was doing alone for the Israelites, he asked, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why are you sitting by yourself while all the people stand around you from morning until evening?” (Exodus 18:14 MEV). Moses answered that the people came to him when they had disputes and he judged between the two parties.


Jethro wasn’t at all satisfied with Moses’ answer. What he really wanted to know was why in the world wasn’t Moses delegating this gigantic responsibility! Jethro warned Moses that what he was doing was “not good“ and said, “You’re going to wear yourself out — and the people too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself. Now listen to me, and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. …Select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you.  If you follow this advice…then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.” (Exodus 18:18,19,21-23 NLT). Obviously, Jethro cared deeply about his son-in-law‘s well being and the future of his daughter and grandsons.


Although Moses didn’t ask for Jethro’s opinion, he listened to his advice and followed his suggestions. This speaks highly of their long-standing relationship. They could be transparent with each other and speak the truth in love. Sometimes a spiritual loved one can see unhealthy patterns and methods that the individual can’t see. Like Moses, we would do well to listen and consider wise advice. No one wants to see a loved one break down or burn out — especially when it’s preventable.


Jethro asked Moses two questions that we should ask ourselves periodically: What am I doing? Why am I doing it? When we get used to doing something the same way over and over, we’re not apt to consider if there’s a better way to handle it. We’ve heard the term, “Work smarter, not harder.”


The Key: Unsolicited advice is not always bad. It could even save your life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *