The Torah portion is Yitro, which means "his abundance." The root means excess, extra, or more. Sometimes things are good, but they can be better. In fact, abundantly better. Moses is doing a good thing in leading Israel, but Yitro takes one look at the people standing in line for good counsel, and he instantly pronounces it "not good." It's not that the counsel is not good, the people are not good, or Moses is not good. It's the
procedure that's not good.
In a huge testimony to his own humility, Moses listens to his father-in-law's advice. He appoints judges to assist him. Like all of us, Moses was so busy doing good that he lost perspective. He was "addicted" to a bad method of doing a good thing. A simple procedural improvement would preserve everyone's sanity in the fledgling nation. Rising above a near-sighted habit or way of thinking can improve a good day to a better day. A good walk with Yeshua to a better walk with Yeshua.
Try to examine your life and faith like an outsider. In fact, a great exercise is to write a description of yourself in third person. Describe yourself as if you are a novelist describing you as a character, just don't write fiction, be honest. What are you doing that is good, and could it be better? Becoming the onlooker in your own life, however, is usually less effective than the advice and counsel of a spirit-filled mentor.
It must be someone who reminds you that this life is just the entry hall to Kingdom. Preparation. Your Yitro will help you sometimes to identify areas that need repentance because of sin. Other times Yitro will help you adjust your vision from day-to-day to today-to-the-Kingdom. He won't correct sin, but attitudes that needlessly waste both your time and others'.
Who's your Yitro who makes your life more effective both for yourself and those in your sphere of influence?
Consider this verse:
"For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness." Ps 84:10
This verse is packed with ideas for improvement. First, separate the first statement from the second and third. It is indeed better to stand at the threshold of the house of God than to live in the tents of sin. Living a life of righteousness in the King's "entry way" to the Kingdom of this life is better than living a self-serving life of sin. It is far-sighted, while the wicked live short-sighted lives.
How does the first statement of Psalm 84:10 inform the last two? It's a couplet to the last two. A day in the Presence of the King is better than a thousand in outer darkness. The Holy One is the Light that only the far-sighted can see. The Jewish sages shed a little light:
"He was accustomed to say; 'Better one hour of repentance and good deeds in this world than the entire life of the Word to come; and better is one hour of spiritual bliss in the World to Come than the entire life of this world.'" -Mishnah Pirkei Avot 4:22
Rabbi Twerski elaborates on the Mishnah:
"Most of us do not think of ourselves as being addicted. However, addiction can be defined as being under compulsion to do that which we know is detrimental to us, but are essentially powerless to resist the particular drive...although we profess to believe in the ideology of the Torah, which as stated in this Mishnah, is that this world is but preparatory for the Eternal World, we generally behave as though this world is all there is. Our behavior thus contradicts what we believe, yet we are driven to acquire more money so that we can increase our enjoyment of this world, rather than - devote ourselves to spiritual growth? How different is this really from the person who pursues the ephemeral pleasure of drugs, even though he realizes that they are harmful to him?" (Twerski,
Visions of the Fathers, p. 250)
Twerski points out that we need a Yitro to improve from good to better. Remember "
It's not that the counsel is not good, the people are not good, or Moses is not good. It's the procedure that's not good." If we take offense when someone points out problems in our vision or procedure, then we miss the point. The mentor is not saying we are not good, but our method and vision can improve. Someone who disagrees with our methods is not saying we must be better, but we can do better in our Kingdom threshold.
We can take our faith and improve it with works that are better preparation for eternity. It will waste less of our precious time, which is either wasted or rewarded. Why not live in wisdom on this earth so that we live in abundance beyond this narrow entryway?
What did we do this week that will be wasted in eternity? Repentance and good deeds are not something we save for the next life. They are for today, and their rewards are held in trust. Is it time to replace or improve a near-sighted activity with a better-is-one-day activity?