Why them?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007 

Why them? 

Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

Ephesians 3:13  

Both directly because of his care for the early church and his call as a spiritual leader Paul suffered a great deal of tribulation in his lifetime and during his ministry years.  

Here in this verse we see Paul exhorting and encouraging the church, despite his own problems, not to lose heart in seeking after God and going forward in the Kingdom Work. Why however? Why did he feel the pressing need to encourage them not to throw in the towel? How can this exhortation to the early church help us today? The answer during that time period and the connect to the modern day church is remarkably similar. For we know that God has allowed nothing in Scripture to remain that is not significant and relevant to us today.  

Paul realized that human frailty of the people in the early church must be addressed. Their spiritual infancy required them to have a greater understanding of how God worked and how the things that were happening to Paul fit into God ultimate plan. They needed to know that Paul had full trust in God and that God had his back, so to speak. Moving from spiritual infancy to the deep type of trust that Paul had in His Savior; took and takes time along with experience through watching others and seeing God at work in ones own life. Paul knew this but the babes in Christ in the early church did not. Therefore, Paul had to encourage them to hang on, God is there, God is with us, God is on our side! 

In the modern church today we still see just such reactions. Those who see their leaders going through troubles, tribulations, persecutions, and the like – then saying to themselves; “Why them? If it can happen to them is there any hope for myself to be protected from such, by God? God clearly is not protecting His own spiritual leaders, so I have no chance.” This is obviously a response that comes from immaturity in ones faith. Time and devotion to God can cure such immaturity. As one seeing God on the other side of an issue time and time again.   

Yet, this type of response to knowing our spiritual leaders go through hard things; creates and adds problems for them and the people they serve.  For many reasons but I will only touch on two.

1] Spiritual leaders like all people need the support, help, and care of the people in their fellowship, at times. Often times they are forced to keep such struggles to themselves for concern over the peoples ability to understand and handle the fact that all people, even those who are wrongly viewed as the spiritually elite. They are humans, spiritual leaders yes, called of God yes, elite no – human. A case in point – real example; a Pastor’s wife got breast cancer and between the lack of support from his congregation and the lack of understanding of the immature members who thought such could not happen to a “good” Pastor – he left his church and the ministry all together. Very sad, the Body of Christ lost a man who understood and who had a heart for Gods, current plan, for the church in our society today.   

2] The people suffer when there cannot be an open forum for leaders to express their tribulations. There is so much the people could learn from their leaders if they would allow them to walk through the difficulties in front of them, so that a living example of “perseverance in ones faith” could be seen. No amount of teaching or booking learning will replace a living example that has walked the road, another walks. I often say, “Perseverance is no picnic!” Without the tools and understanding needed many will not make it through – let your leaders show you how; let them be human.  

A few years back a poll was taken of those in the ministry. It was found that 5,000 people leave the ministry each year. Wow, I wonder how many it is now, several years later. I have one question for you – Do you want to lose your spiritual leaders or do you want to take a moment to pat them on the back and say, “I am here for you?”

 

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. i have noticed in my reading through your blog you speak about tribulations and trials and how they are part of god’s plan and lead to ultimate good. it is interesting that you also mentioned spiritual leaders but overall, i notice this must be a topic you find important or know much about personally.

    • I do find it to be a very important topic and I do know a great deal about it from personal experience as well as counseling people over the years and general spiritual observation of others lives. Remember we can learn not only from what happens to us but all what happens to others. If people do not know how to spiritually process the things that happen in their lives they will fall away from, or turn away from, God instead of drawing closer to God when trials occur in or around their lives. Dead Sea Scrolls and PTM Writer


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