At this point in Israel’s history, God has announced Moses’ forced retirement. Consequently, Moses has been busy setting things in order for the transition of power. He has also been instrumental in making plans regarding Israel’s long-awaited but soon-coming advancement into the Promised Land. However, as the day of march approaches, certain leaders from Gad and Reuben request permission to stay behind and not engage in the upcoming crusade. To their petition Moses responds:
Shall your brothers go to the war while you sit here? Why will you discourage the heart of the people of Israel from going over into the land that the Lord has given them? Your fathers did this … And the Lord’s anger was kindled against Israel … And behold, you have risen in your fathers’ place, a brood of sinful men, to increase still more the fierce anger of the Lord ….. (Numbers 32:6-15)
Having a failure to fight was nothing new. Israel had been down this road before, and it had resulted in the anger of the Lord, a 40-year sentance of wilderness wandering, and the death of a generation. And here it was happening again — a brood of sinful men increasing still more the fierce anger of the Lord.
Thankfully, the leaders of Reuben and Gad came to better terms with Moses and the Lord. They agreed to leave their families and possessions behind. They would then go to war with the rest of Israel in securing the Promised Land. Then, following all the battles, they would return to their homes on the other side of the Jordan River and enjoy their inheritance. These men would not sit back while their brothers engaged in war. They would join the fight. And this plan was pleasing and acceptable to the Lord. Disaster had been averted.
Friends, allow me to ask a you a question, “Shall your brothers and sisters engage in the work and worship while you sit on the bench?”
Consider, you have been granted spiritual gifts for the purpose of edifying your brothers and sisters. Without your service, your church is handicapped. Are you now putting your spiritual gifts to use in your local assembly?
To you has been granted distinct personality traits, and with them come corresponding benefits. God has made you the way you are. Are you putting your personality to work?
What about your experiences? God has allowed you to receive a testimony and “on the job training.” Are you wasting your divinely ordained experiences, or are you putting your history to work for God and your neighbors?
A certain level of energy is yours today. Not all people have the same battery capacity and life. Hoewever, the question remains the same, “Are you spending the battery you do have for the King and his Kingdom?”
Not all have the same measure or level of influence. Power is not granted to all equally. But wherever you are in life’s pecking order, are you stewarding well and leveraging your influence?
What about your skills and technical abilities?
Then there is education, knowledge, and wisdom. Friend, it is not laudible to be “puffed up with knowledge.” You have been gifted information to dispense it well. Are you teaching, guiding, counseling, and coaching?
All have been granted a portion of financial wealth and material possessions. How about you; are you paying your fair share?
Finally, all believers have been granted grace. It is yours to give away to others. Are you daily gracing the lost, the lonely, the licentious, and the legalist? Good News is yours to show and share. Are you sowing seeds here, there, and everywhere?
Friends, many of you are privileged to be surrounded by a host of paid ministers. But, do you know what their job is? They are called by God to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry?” Therefore, they are not servants hired to enable you to sit back, watch, evaluate, applaud, and critique. No, they are there to spur you on to minister as a kingdom of priests. Therefore, fellow ministers in the pew, will you do the work of the ministry?
Oh brothers and sisters, there is much work to do; there is worship to offer; there is a holy war with skirmishes to win; the game is not over yet. Please don’t sit back and squander the grace granted you by your Lord. Please don’t harm your church by sitting on your gifts. Jesus doesn’t need your help, but his children do. Therefore, please come back and join the band of brothers being used by God’s Spirit. Please commune with the Lord and then communicate with your elders. Please find your place to use the material and non-material assets given you by your Heavenly Father. Getting in the game is exhausting. It is risky, and it costs much. However, it is thrilling to get off the bench and into the game. And when the final horn blows and victory is realized, greater joy is had by those who left the edges and got into the match.