Your Support is Necessary for Success
by Dr. Henderson Ward
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Whenever the church is in turmoil or perceived to be so then support for its leaders decline rapidly. This is understandable for people generally do not like to be seen supporting something that in their opinion harms society or causes it to malfunction or becomes a source of contention and immorality.
The truth is that men and women who are called by God to serve, and are divinely equipped to undertake their duties, are selflessly committed to God, his work and the people, are a special breed and deserve the support of society at large.
These genuine servants of God are special because:
1. They understand and accept that by going into Christian ministry they are making a sacrifice. This calling is not for those who hunger for position, status, money or any of the trappings of the high life.
2. They put God first and by inference everything and everybody else comes after. This means that family and friends are not allowed to influence matters contrary to the will of God and therefore impartiality is practiced and respect earned.
3. They acknowledge that they are available to the community at all times as God's representative and so will be consulted and contacted at the most inconvenient and inopportune times.
4. They know that they will always be under public scrutiny, always being second-guessed, always working under stress and sometimes without recognition and appreciation and at all times keeping a devout demeanour even when facing serious hostility.
The call to ministry is not for everyone and there are some in Christian ministry who is not called, are not suitable, are just ambitious and opportunistic; looking to feather their own nest, pursue their iniquitous agenda and lord it over others. These are the ones Paul foresaw when he warned the leaders in the early church to be extremely careful and protect the flock as he was about to depart from Asia Minor (Acts 20:28-29)
It is true what has been said, that God always has a man to fill the breach, but that man (or woman) is never left unsupported and forlorn and expected to do it all by himself. God's way is that the most robust and competent leadership needs quality support for mission success for it is by God's grace and the help of believers that things are achieved.
Even in our lifetime we have seen how very appreciative godly leadership is for the assistance given to them by others. They recognised that on their own they would not have achieved as much, and at times not achieved anything, except for the backing of others. A good example of such appreciation was shown by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and here, in this excerpt from his acceptance speech, is how he showed his appreciation:
"Every time I take a flight, I am always mindful of the many people who make a successful journey possible - the known pilots and the unknown ground crew. So you honour the dedicated pilots of our struggle who have sat at the controls as the freedom movement soared into orbit. You honour, once again, Chief Luthuli of South Africa, whose struggles with and for his people, are still met with the most brutal expression of man's inhumanity to man. You honour the ground crew without whose labour and sacrifices the jet flights to freedom could never have left the earth. Most of these people will never make the headline and their names will not appear in Who's Who. Yet when years have rolled past and when the blazing light of truth is focused on this marvellous age in which we live - men and women will know and children will be taught that we have a finer land, a better people, a more noble civilization - because these humble children of God were willing to suffer for righteousness' sake."
There are many fine contemporary examples of people supporting the leader in which the leader would not have succeeded without that support, but the best, most touching example of all is given in the Old Testament. The Bible has a way of shining light on some principles and human characteristics in a way that is without parallel.
Here is how the Bible puts it:
"The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, 'Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.' So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up one on one side, one on the other so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword." (Exodus 17:8-13 New International Version - U.K.)
Notice that the Bible says Moses hands got tired. This is a good reason why you give assistance to godly leaders. Tiredness and fatigue are the results of much physical exertion and the human body, alas, will always show its frailty. It is precisely for this reason that Jesus made this powerful statement, "For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. " (Mark 9:41)
Moses' assistants saw he needed help and gave it unflinchingly. Sometimes people give help so mean-spirited that the recipient wonders if to take it. It was because Aaron and Hur were deeply involved that they could see where Moses needed assistance and were right there to give it. Believers should not detach themselves from what is going on but be diligent, aware and ready to help as the situation requires. We need to forget who gets the credit and just do what is right in the circumstances and leave the rest to Almighty God.
Observe that all the accounts hereafter credited Moses and Joshua with this victory over the Amalekites but in truth the success depended as much on Aaron and Hur. It is for this reason that believers will be rewarded at the Judgement Seat of Christ because it is God and God alone who knows every contribution that you make to his service: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." (2 Corinthians 5:10)
So how can I, how can you help our godly leader to do a good job and edify the assembly?
Here are some suggestions rooted in the Bible:
Pray for him or her earnestly and regularly. Pray is one of the most vital ways we can contribute to successful ministry. All ministers of the gospel need prayers and whether they ask for it or not makes no difference. Here is Paul heart-felt plea to the Philippians, "For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ," (Philippians 1:19) and to the Thessalonians he was more direct, "Brethren, pray for us." (1 Thessalonians 5:25) You will never regret lifting your godly leader up in prayer before God, and God will reward you in due course.
Give generously, sacrificially even, to help the poor. If your godly minister is poor include him in this. People like to say that the church is always begging and in these days of mega-rich, super churches with pastors getting multi-million salaries to talk of sacrificial giving seems banal. Just remember that we are talking about godly ministers, not performing buffoons masquerading on TV as church ministers, and they are deeply committed to helping the poor and disadvantaged. Believers should get into the spirit of giving sacrificially remembering how Paul worked so very hard to help the poor believers in Jerusalem and how grateful he was for needed assistance, "Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. (Philippians 4:14-18)
Volunteer your service. All assemblies need godly, spiritual people to help with the load involved in any assembly and the more volunteers the better. The saying that many hands make light work is very true and apposite in this context. Sometimes the greatest failure in some assemblies are that just not many volunteers end up doing all the work and the bulk of the assembly does not get involved. This is a shame because if the godly minister had more volunteers he could accomplish much more not just for the assembly but for the whole surrounding community as well. (Romans 16:1-2)
Offer constructive criticism. In truth if you cannot offer constructive criticism then you should not offer any criticism at all. You should not be afraid to tell your godly minister that his pulpit jokes are off-putting, or that his fluorescent ties are a distraction or that he preaches too long or that he needs some new sermons. Constructive criticism makes for improvement and progress and if the minister is godly he will take constructive criticism in the right spirit.(Exodus 18:17-24)
If you are spiritual, i.e. God's Spirit is in and leading you day by day then you will be guided into ways and means how you can help because to edify the church is the business of all believers, not just that of godly leaders. (Romans 8:14-16)
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