Bound Together for Ministry

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S (Scripture): Numbers 11:10 Moses heard the people crying throughout their clans, each at his tent’s entrance. The Lord was outraged, and Moses was upset. 11 Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you treated your servant so badly? And why haven’t I found favor in your eyes, for you have placed the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give birth to them, that you would say to me, ‘Carry them at the breast, as a nurse carries an unweaned child,’ to the fertile land that you promised their ancestors? 13 Where am I to get meat for all these people? They are crying before me and saying, ‘Give us meat, so we can eat.’ 14 I can’t bear this people on my own. They’re too heavy for me. 15 If you’re going to treat me like this, please kill me. If I’ve found favor in your eyes, then don’t let me endure this wretched situation.”

16 The Lord said to Moses, “Gather before me seventy men from Israel’s elders, whom you know as elders and officers of the people. Take them to the meeting tent, and let them stand there with you. 17 Then I’ll descend and speak with you there. I’ll take some of the spirit that is on you and place it on them. Then they will carry the burden of the people with you so that you won’t bear it alone…”

O (Observation): Moses is fed up with God and the people, because he feels all the weight of the people’s complaints squarely on his own shoulders…and he only has God to blame! Moses complains to God: “Where am I gonna get meat for them to eat?! These are YOUR people, God, not mine! Just kill me now, if this is what leadership looks like!”

God encourages Moses and tells him to gather everyone in the worship space. There, God will share the burden on Moses with 70 of the leaders in the community. They will do ministry TOGETHER! And God will provide the meat.

A (Application): As a seminary student, I was challenged with finding a story or person from Scripture that shaped my call into ministry as an ordained minister (aka “pastor”). I chose Numbers 11.

I chose this passage because it reminds me that I as I venture into all sorts of ministries, God will make sure that I am surrounded by those who are called to share the burden along with me.

In each venture into ministry (whether as a pastor or in the community) I have felt alone and abandoned…only to have the Spirit remind me that I am part of the BODY of Christ in which others are being called to come together to work with me.

And as I grow in faith, God has brought others outside of the body of Christ to share burdens with me. Burdens of the poor and the marginalized in our society.

Christ is still my savior and inspiration…and this has moved me to seek God out for strength and sustenance as I venture into the varied callings God has set out for me.

I am blessed.

P (Prayer): Lord, bind us together in love. Amen.

Humility as a Leader

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S (Scripture): 1 Chronicles 19:12 Joab said, “If the Arameans start to overpower me, you come to my rescue. If the Ammonites start to overpower you, I will come to your rescue. 19:13 Be strong! Let’s fight bravely for the sake of our people and the cities of our God! The Lord will do what he decides is best!”

O (Observation): David is being forced to do battle again, as the Arameans and Ammonites are set to attack. Joab, a leader in the army, shares an instruction, and then leaves credit to the Lord for what may come.

Joab is showing deference to the Lord, exhibiting some humility in the process of leadership.

A (Application): I’m not totally sure if Joab is simply being a humble leader and giving the Lord the credit for what might happen, or if he’s just assuming that the Lord will be on “their side.”

I kind of get the same vibe as when a football player points to the sky after scoring a touchdown, only this time, the pointing up happens BEFORE the touchdown. In fact, it happens before the snap!

Like, “Lord, I’m gonna run the ball on this play. I may score a touchdown, or I may get tackled in the back field – you decide what’s best.” Of course, I don’t think God decides the outcomes of single plays or whole games, at all.

The leaders of the armies of Israel have often attributed their direction – and their success and their failures – to the Lord.

Perhaps the best way to look at things is that the leaders of the armies have remained humble. They know their place in the grand scheme of things. That while they direct many soldiers, they still seek for the Lord’s will to be done, not just their own.

Someone else mentioned something about “thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” He pointed to heaven, from which the Spirit descended. While on his way to the cross, Jesus looked up and said, “Let this cup pass from my lips, but then, not my will be done, but yours.”

Remaining humble as leaders is difficult. Do you find it difficult to let God’s will be done, and not just your own? In what settings is this challenge most noticeable for you?

I choose to look at this situation in this way: We may not know how it will turn out, but we know in whom we can trust.

The Lord.

P (Prayer): Lord, give us wisdom to see that we are simply your servants, called to do your will. Reveal to us our callings, and send us out to lead in your name. Amen.