“When DIY becomes OMG!”
That’s what the billboard read in big letters. It caught my attention because I’ve had a few Do-It-Yourself projects I’ve regretted. That’s when you wish you would have called the professionals first. Now, to be sure, there’s nothing wrong with doing things on your own. That’s how you learn and save; a lot of us enjoy taking on our own tasks.
Today, we’re talking about when you’re doing too much on your own.
As it turns out, that kind of DIY is nothing new. I’ve found this is a conversation a lot of us understand, but have a hard time making the leap to correct it. What does it take to shed some of our DIY approach to life?
In Exodus 18, we read of the famous encounter between Moses and his father-in-law, Jethro. As Moses takes his seat among the people to judge, Jethro takes notes. He notices that Moses sits while all the people come to him. Presumably, they’re asking questions, pleading their cases and seeking wisdom from Moses. That makes sense, of course. Moses liberated them. He was the one who delivered them from the hand of Pharaoh. Now, he is their judge.
But Jethro immediately recognized how fast this could fall apart. It was too much burden for one person to carry. You might get away with it for a day or two, maybe longer. Be sure, though, it will catch up with you.
I wonder if Moses knew that.
Was he convinced he could keep this gig going? Do any of us DIY devotees think we can? Did the people who came to Moses have an idea this couldn’t hold up for too long? If they did, they didn’t let on. And that says a lot when you consider how quick they were to complain about things.
It took an outsider to state the obvious. It’s interesting because, most likely, Jethro was a pagan priest. He had only the day before acknowledged “that the Lord is greater than all gods.” I’m not suggesting we should seek out pagan insights in our walk with Jesus. But isn’t it like God to use someone from the outside to bring light to what’s wrong with us?
How willing are we to listen?
To let go of our DIY dependence, we need to seek wisdom from others. We need God’s direction, too. Jethro told Moses, “If you do this, and God so commands you…” The text doesn’t tell us that Moses inquired of God. Are we safe to assume he did?
The best way to move away from unhealthy DIY control is to look to the gifts of other people. Let other people use their God-given talents to serve others. They may not do things the way you do, but that’s not what’s important. You also need to think of who suffers from your overcommitment to DIY. You will suffer. The people you want to serve will suffer. Those closest to you suffer as well.
Moses listened to Jethro and the groundwork for the future of God’s people was in place. How might God use you to bring peace if you let someone else in on the fun?