As Katie and I are reading through the bible in 90 days, I’m sharing things that have jumped out to me. It’s interesting what jumps out to you when you read 12 pages of the Bible in one sitting. Today I’m working through Numbers. I often think Leviticus and Numbers are the reasons people don’t read through the Bible when they set to to do so. But, if you skip them, you skip some gems.
Today I came across Numbers 11:11 – 15. The nation of Israel is in the wilderness and they are whining to Moses. So Moses goes to God:
11 Moses said to the LORD, “Why have you dealt ill with your servant? And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? 12 Did I conceive all this people? Did I give them birth, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a nursing child,’ to the land that you swore to give their fathers? 13 Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me and say, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’ 14 I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness.”
As a leader, I can resonate with Moses. Being a pastor can be hard. People have expectations of you, your wife and your family that are impossible to live up to. People will expect you to be like their last pastor, even when they didn’t like their last pastor. They will complain about the music, even if they like the music. I remember a mentor telling me once that when it comes to being a pastor, everyone in your church thinks they know how easy it is and how to do it better than you. He said, “Honestly, you are probably the least qualified in their minds to do your job.” While I’m blessed to not have the church he had and have a great team of people who support us, believe in us, pray for us, hold up my arms when I’m tired. It can be difficult.
So I can relate to Moses and his whining to God about the nation of Israel.
But, Moses and leaders often miss something. God called him to lead the nation of Israel. In the same way pastor, right now, God has called you to lead and love those under your care in your church. No matter how difficult it is, God has designed you to lead them. He has called you, your wife and other leads to come alongside of them, love them, bring the gospel to bear on their sin and idols.
I can relate to Moses because I can understand wanting to blame God when life and leadership get hard. When the people I’m called to love are hard to love. When the church I’m called to lead is difficult or not going according to “my plan.” I get his lack of faith and trust in God.
God’s response is great in Numbers 11:16 – 18:
16 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. 17 And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone.
He tells Moses, “Get some other leaders, get some other men to walk with you, to carry the burden.”
I’m convinced, one of the reasons many pastors and ministry leaders suffer in their leadership, one of the reasons it is so difficult is because we make it difficult by doing it alone, by carrying the burdens alone, dealing with angry people alone. We suffer in temptation and sin alone. We don’t let people in, we don’t let people help, we don’t let people care for us, pray for us, love us. We don’t admit we aren’t superman, that we need help.