I had a professor in seminary who taught Christian Education. Men and women who were going to be pastors of Christian Education attended his classes. We were going to be in the second chair in most of the situations we would be serving in. Our professor would say often that the Sr. Pastor was God’s chosen person for that church we were serving. Now you may believe that or not, but that was his point of view. And he would tell us that we should never work against the ministry of the Sr. Pastor. We were there to support God’s chosen one.
Well my first ministry position was fraught with challenges to the Sr. Pastor from many in the congregation. And I sympathized with them. In fact, I wanted to stand in opposition to many of the things he was trying to accomplish. I called this prof and told him the entire story. I thought he would say that surely this was a time a Christian Education Pastor could work against a Sr. Pastor. After laying it all out he had one question. How long can you stay there before you should leave? If you can’t support God’s chosen one for that church you need to leave. Boy, I wasn’t expecting that.
In today’s reading Korah and others rose up in opposition against Aaron and Moses. God’s chosen men for that time in Israel’s history. And they paid dearly with their lives.
16 Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men. 2 And they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men. 3 They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?” 4 When Moses heard it, he fell on his face, 5 and he said to Korah and all his company, “In the morning the Lord will show who is his, and who is holy, and will bring him near to him. The one whom he chooses he will bring near to him. 6 Do this: take censers, Korah and all his company; 7 put fire in them and put incense on them before the Lord tomorrow, and the man whom the Lord chooses shall be the holy one. You have gone too far, sons of Levi!” 8 And Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you sons of Levi: 9 is it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do service in the tabernacle of the Lord and to stand before the congregation to minister to them, 10 and that he has brought you near him, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? And would you seek the priesthood also? 11 Therefore it is against the Lord that you and all your company have gathered together. What is Aaron that you grumble against him?” (Numbers 16:1-11 [ESV])
Now we know that God had chosen Moses and Aaron to lead God’s people. It was going to end very badly for Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Along with those that were following them.
I think we too need to think about those in authority over us in the church. Our goal should be to support and encourage them and not work against their ministries. Obviously if a leader is in sin and not repentant the body needs to deal with him/her in that regard. But if we disagree with strategy or vision or style that is totally different. Our goal is to support and encourage our leaders.
What can you do in this next week to encourage your pastor or spiritual leader?