Burn Out versus Depression
Exodus 18:17, 18
17 Moses' father-in-law said to him, "The thing that you are doing is not good. 18 "You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.
Please see also, Bloem Steve and Robyn, Broken Minds, Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You’re Losing It. (2005), Grand Rapids, Kregel Publications, http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Minds-Healing-Youre-Losing/dp/0825421187
I. Moses was wearing himself out, not by standing but by sitting as a judge (shaphat), exerting mental and spiritual strength and counseling people. He was “going it alone.” The Hebrew (Strong’s #5034) translated wearing out has a primitive root; to wilt; generally to fall away, fail, faint; figuratively to be dishonored, lightly esteemed, fade (away, -ing), fall off, wither. (NASB, is wear out NIV, wear yourselves out.)
If you look at other references in the Old Testament this word carries the idea of “fading away.” Now, this consists of actually putting too much of a strain on your mental resources. It is due to a lack of prioritizing. Moses did not see that he had limited time, resources and healthy brain neurons to handle the burden of the people.
II. Moses was depleting resources that could not be restored by an evening rest and/or a holiday here or there. He was inviting burn out that could lead to depression.
His father- in-law told him (Numbers18:18). You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task, is is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.” From (Strong, H3513); heavy; in a bad sense (severe, difficult, stupid ; great, grievous, hard (-ened), (too) heavy (-ier), laden, much, slow, sore, thick.
Moses had too much sensory stimuli. He had an unequal distribution of people he was serving. He was not working smarter but harder. He failed to recognize his superior leadership abilities and that God works through means, through good men. Moses, according to his father-in-law was to focus on teaching God’s laws (v.20) and judging the difficult cases from among the people. He was to share the Spirit with other men who were honest and holy
Are you in a ministry? Pray that God will give you holy men and women to complement you in ministry. Another Scripture to think about I Corinthians 12:4-7: 4 now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
(1) Assign to your leaders groups of people. You must assign able, (NIV capable) in the Hebrew (H2428) , From H2342; probably a force, an army, wealth, virtue, valor, strength:—a who will be able to teach others:
Paul advice to Timothy is appropriate for application; You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also ( 2 Timothy 2: 1,2).
(2) We must teach God’s ordinances and laws which build, edify or inform to
good, holy men who are filled with the Spirit. We must show these men: (a.) the way in which they must walk (their character) (b). The work they must do (their God given labor) (3) the power that is available to minister, the Spirit of God.
(3) Watch out for symptoms of biological depression, especially vegetative functions of the body, i.e., sleep, appetite and libido.