The Balancing Act
“So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah.”
This is by no means exhaustive or complete…just thinking some things through…
There is no doubt that the “work” we are involved in as the Body of Christ is vast and extensive from our point of view. As we look at the “walls” that lie in disrepair and comprehend that its “breaches are many” (Isaiah 22:9), we begin to understand the scope of all that has been done, and begin to understand the reach that still has to be accomplished in our own communities, to the ends of the globe.
What greater thing is there than pouring our very lives that have been redeemed from the slimy pit and have now been washed clean, purged from the stains of our guilty consciences and shot-out lives, into the great and eternal “work” that we have been called to and given gifts by His Spirit which enable us to engage ourselves in this work effectively and profitably for the renown of Jesus’ name.
There are those that each of us know and love and care for that are fighting and laboring and toiling, expending spiritual and physical blood, sweat, and tears in this “work”. They are the ones that fill the seats on Sunday, falling asleep, nodding off during our sermons, not making it to the discipleship classes, the home fellowship or mid-week study all the time, “‘cuz their just plumb wore out”. And unfortunately, we sometimes question their dedication to the work because of these realities. These are the ones who are directly involved in the “front lines” work of the ministry. We sometimes fall into the mindset that “We are the ones on the front lines, that I am the one forging ahead into the vast hordes of the unchurched and unbelieving. “I alone am left, Lord!” (and not wrongly so, in all instances).
But here in Nehemiah 4:16 we see the position of the leaders in the “impossible” work in Jerusalem…namely repairing the breaches, rebuilding the wall. The leaders are positioned squarely behind the “frontline”. Yes, they are also directly involved in the work themselves, fighting, laboring and toiling alongside. But they are also functioning “behind the scenes”, watching, directing, re-directing, encouraging, equipping, etc.
With this picture in mind, one thought stands out. There is the necessity that we must teach, by our lives and by our words, that in the work of the Lord and in the service of the Lord, in desiring to accomplish the task that is before us, there is a needed balance, with which we will be able to be most effective in our watching and in our working.
We, as your pastors, have been separated from “waiting on tables”, so to speak, and strive to be constant in our giving of ourselves, our entire lives, to the ministry of the word and to prayer. Our desire, our goal, our calling, if you will, is to excel in being the leaders that God has gifted us to be so that you might be the best equipped, as you each are laboring and toiling on the front lines, rebuilding the walls.
Thank you Josh… great post. I just want to say a hearty yeah and amen and thank you for your faithfulness in the work that God has equipped and ordained for you. I know that He alone is worthy of all honor, praise and glory, but I am so thankful for each of you pastors for saying; “Yes, here I am Lord, use me.” And He does! I praise Him for you, I thank Him for each of you, and ask Him to bless you and your precious families. May all your delight be in Him, and all your times be in His hands.
Thanks for your insight, Josh. Your post brings to mind a picture of a pastor as one standing behind the army at war, shouting commands and encouragement to the soldiers on the battlefield. Great reminder that pastors are called to equip and lead.