Faith & Focus

Today I read Numbers 14-16 and Mark 3. I found it interesting to see how the Israelites responded to the scouts intel on their new land and attempted mutiny that happened as a result. All but two of the spies came back discouraged because they could not see the potential because all they saw was the obstacles. Their lack of faith poisoned the whole community so that they even wanted to go back to the place of misery they had left in Egypt instead of taking a risk and having faith in God. As a result God would not allow any of them to enter the promise land and sentenced them to death in the wilderness (which would have been instant death had Moses and Aaron not interceded).

Then after being allowed to live despite the fact that God should have wiped them out, there was a mutiny by the Levites who wanted to be priests. So they attempted to overthrow the existing priesthood to get a better and more important job for themselves. They got 250 people to go along with their attempted overthrow. But in the end they all died because of their rebellion (the leaders were swallowed up by the earth and the others destroyed by fire).

As I think about all of this this morning I can see how powerful our perceptions and interpretations are of the things God is calling me to as a Pastor. The spies could have come back and held back their own fears and insecurities and shared only the good piece for the sake of the people. As leaders it was important that they followed God no matter how great their doubts were. Had they not shared their own fears and chosen to focus on the greatness of God, the people would have been prepared to enter whatever God brought their way. I too need to do this more in my own life and ministry. I have a tendency to process out loud with people. Now doing that does lead at times to sharing my own doubts or concerns which could cause others to lose faith if I am not careful. So I try (not always successfully) to share my own faith in God in those circumstances so people know that I am moving forward in faith not shrinking back in my own doubt. How I frame things for people is vital to their own spiritual health.

The second thing is the politics that happen in any organization, the church included. The guys who wanted to overthrow the priests and have status themselves probably believed that what they were doing was for the best. It is obvious they felt they had a good case because 250 people went along with them. Yet the problem is that many people in ministry can feel overlooked, under appreciated, and have a huge desire for impact. When you give your life to something that you feel will have great impact and you are a people person, there is a desire for affirmation that sneaks in and a sense of entitlement. Pastors can start to compare themselves to other Pastors and believe that they can do what that person can and better. Mixed up in this jealousy and desire to be recognized is a competitiveness and comparison that can creep up that leads us down the wrong path. All it takes is to ignite these two things and get buy in and support from others around us to begin to believe that we MUST take action and get others to go along with our idea. When that happens we are not in a place where we will do whatever it takes to subvert whoever is ahead of us to elevate ourselves. The difficulty in ministry is you have the same people politics mixed together with a spiritual “calling” from God.

My prayer is that I will not get caught up in the politics around me, that I would move forward in faith and concentrate on the outcome not the obstacles, and try to stay away from competition and comparison with others.

Lord, help me to step out in faith in the areas you are calling me. Help me to see the potential instead of pitfalls. Keep me from my own desires for recognition and sense of importance and help me to stay focused on your call and see that same call in the lives of others so they become friends not people to compete against. Amen.
blog comments powered by Disqus