Numbers 11:14-17 (NRSV)
11:11 So Moses said to the Lord . . .14 I am not able to carry all this people alone, for they are too heavy for me. 15 If this is the way you are going to treat me, put me to death at once—if I have found favor in your sight—and do not let me see my misery.”
16 So the Lord said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tent of meeting, and have them take their place there with you. 17 I will come down and talk with you there; and I will take some of the spirit that is on you and put it on them; and they shall bear the burden of the people along with you so that you will not bear it all by yourself.
When I am planning something like an event at the Parsonage for the congregation, I go a little bit nuts. I plan the menu, trying to take everyone’s dietary needs into account. I go a little (a LOT) overboard buying whatever I plan to serve and decorations and maybe new decor for the house. I make myself completely crazy trying to make sure all the details are perfect. By the time the event is ready to begin I am frazzled and exhausted. Inevitably someone close to me will point out that I didn’t have to do it all myself. And that always surprises me. Because it doesn’t occur to me to ask for help.
I’m not the only one, of course. We start saying “I want to do it myself” when we are toddlers, and some of us never really grow out of it. Whatever comes up, whether it is a party or a project at work or even the family dinner, we want to do it all with no help. We say things like, “If I want to make sure it is done right, I have to do it myself.” Delegation is a foreign concept. The very last thing I am willing to do is ask for help.
Moses said, “I can’t do this all myself.” Moses, whom God trusted to free the people of Israel and lead them to the Promised Land, said “I can’t do this all myself.” So God said, “No problem. You can have 70 helpers. I will come and give them what they need to bear part of your burden.”
If even Moses, the great prophet and leader of the Exodus, needed and accepted help, who do I think I am to reject it when offered? If even Moses realized that he could not do it all alone, and was willing to set aside his ego and ask for help, who do I think I am to refuse to seek assistance?
Holy God, who is always standing ready to help, may we look to the example of Moses and realize we cannot do everything by ourselves. May we outgrow our inner toddler and ask for help when we need it. Amen