Who Is Walking With You?
October 31, 2014
“After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go.” -Luke 10:1
I have a simple question for pastors and leaders in the local church, “Who is walking with you?” I fear that too often our pastors walk alone or rely on their spouse as their primary coworker, partner, and “colleague.”
For three years, we have been working with the Transformed by the Spirit process. Each time we gather, we “Dwell in the Word” with the passage from Luke 10:1-12. Those present share where God “stops” them or they are caught by a phrase from the text.
As I have read this text over and over again, I have been stopped at any number of places: God sending, sending without a purse, the peace resting on a house, shaking the dust off, etc. One frequent place is that phrase, “sent them on ahead of him in pairs.”
I do not believe that God intends for us to do ministry alone. Look at the story of God’s servants. Abraham had Lot. Moses had his brother Aaron. (Do we need to say that those who walk with us do not need to be perfect?) After Moses, Joshua and Caleb led the people. When we get to the kings and prophets, it seems to me we get into trouble. The kings had advisors, but they did not really walk as “partners.” Look at how miserable Jeremiah was.
When Jesus called his disciples, they worked in pairs. This was very intentional. Even Paul, obstinate, opinionated, dominant as he was, had partners. He needed these partners. He needed Barnabas, Luke, Lydia, Timothy, Phoebe, Priscilla and Aquilla, and others. He needed more than servants, amanuensis, or “yes” people. He needed people that worked side by side with him. He needed people that would challenge him, argue with him, and suffer with him. He needed different people at different times to encourage and complement his ministry.
I know from my own ministry, that I am not always the easiest to work with. I don’t always share ideas or accept them well. I don’t always (ok rarely) listen. I get opinionated and in a hurry. In my better moments, I know that when I am walking with people, I am a better minister. When I lift them up and champion their ideas and allow them to use their gifts, God is glorified. I can name a lot of people who have walked with me over the years: Glen, Randy, Susan, Mike, Cheryl, Jim, Reginald, Sylvia and Bill, Jack and Lorraine, Clint, Bill, Arlene, Mary Colleen, Chuck, Tom, Thom, Dave, and many others. I have been blessed by their ministry. Ministry is sweeter with them. Ministry is not as tiring when they walked with me and shared the load. I could add my wonderful wife Chris who clearly belongs on my list, but I want her to be my wife first, not a colleague in ministry first.
Who is walking with you? Have you thanked God for putting them in your life? Have you thanked them for their service to God? How do you empower them to use their gifts, to minister and to develop new ministry partners?
Are you walking alone? As I said above, I believe that too many pastors walk alone. Each one of them has their reasons. Each of us has a different context for ministry. In spite of this, I do not believe it is healthy or God’s will for us to walk alone.
Prayer: God I thank you for those who have walked with me over the years. I am so thankful that you did not send me out alone. I know that some are walking alone. I pray that you will put new partners in their life who will walk with them.
Rev. Mike Oldham
Ministry & Mission Coach