A Ministry Taken Away
I hate it! I can't stand it! I'm nearly going crazy here!
For 12 years I've been pastoring! That's what I am - a pastor. It's my gifts, my heart, my passion, my identity, my life has been wrapped around serving the church. And I love doing it! I'd do it all my life. It's my calling in life.
Now I'm on a medical leave. "Stop pastoring," they said. (Yes, it can be a verb too.)
You can't just turn that off. A pastor's heart is not like a tap. It keeps running. I keep thinking about the people. People I'm praying for daily. People who need Jesus. People who face problems. Parents who cry out for their children to know Christ. Spouses who cry out for their spouses to know Christ. Youth who need to see beyond themselves. You keep thinking about the church. Outreach opportunities. Passion for God that isn't ignited in the midst of vacation planning. And so many places where a little enthusiasm for Christ would bring a smile to someone's face. The church needs to be rallied. The community needs to be called forth. The battle cry raised! Leaders brought together. The momentum gathered. And where am I? At home applying for medical leave benefits. Aaargh!
And then God meets me this morning. And watches me in my self-pity for a while. (I wonder if He ponders how hard He's going to need to slap me to get my attention.) And He stops me dead in my tracks.
In Numbers 11 there's this story about the Isreality community grumbling in the desert. No meat. They haven't eaten anything but manna and they're sick of it. The people have had enough and they come out of their tents and grumble LOUDLY. All of them. Can you imagine it? As a leader Moses listens to the entire community grumble against him. How incredibly disheartening that must have been for him as a leader. Your entire community hates your leadership. Hates it. They all think you stink as a leader. They don't just question your leadership. They reject it.
Moses hears this and he gives up. Who wouldn't. "O, I give up!" "What am I supposed to do? I can't supply their every need? I can't meet their expectations. I just give up. Take my life now." I'd give up too.
But God doesn't.
God says bring me the leaders. And God gathers the leaders. And when he gathers them. He annoints them with His Spirit. Wow! Not just elects them. Not just appoints them. But annoints them! And with a full measure of the Spirit! In the Old Testament for crying out loud!
And then God makes a promise to feed the entire community meat. What? In the desert? Yes. Meat for a month. Meat till you can't eat meat anymore. Meat till it comes out your nostrils. (I thought that was pretty funny :-)
How can that be? Great verse. I memorized it:
The Lord answered Moses, "Is the Lord's arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you."
God is doing that right now for my church. As I write, God is gathering the leaders. I believe He's not just electing them and appointing them. I believe He's annointing them. With His Spirit. And He's engaging them to lead our church community beautifully, powerfully, correctly.
The very next chapter in Numbers is a huge rebuke to speaking negatively about God-appointed leaders.
Quite a slap, Huh?
Sure caught my attention! Spun my head around a couple of times this morning. Pity party over. I've got some praying to do. For our church leaders. They need my prayers and my support. God bless 'em!
Life is an adventure, a journey we travel. And God walks it with us - hand in hand if we let Him. Guiding, shaping, and molding us through the circumstances. I seek to journey more intentionally here.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
A Ministry Taken Away