Summary: As the arms of Moses were upheld, so we need to uphold the tired arms of the people in leadership in our churches.
One of the most striking pictures of the church and its role was presented to me as I was walking up King Street in the uptown of Saint John one afternoon. King Street has been cited as the steepest hill in a city of Saint John’s size in all of Canada.
A little boy, just tall enough to reach his father’s knees was struggling to keep up. He managed to scurry in front of his father, and these two little arms stretched up into the air “Carry me!!” The father reached down and picked his little son up and placing him piggy-back style, carried him on his shoulders.
I was probably six or seven years old attending a Cub Scout meeting at Hillcrest. The highlight of this particular evening was a trip with the scout leaders and the entire group of boys to the fire station on Lancaster Avenue. I had my boots on, and like you’re not suppose to do, ran across the gymnasium floor to get something on the other side of the gym before we left. I slipped and fell and in doing so I twisted my ankle. As much as the ankle hurt, in the very depths of my soul the truly tragical implication was that I was going to miss going down to the fire station. I remember and to this day remember one of the elders of the church carrying me on his shoulders down to the fire station.
That’s a picture of what the Church is to do-to carry the hurt, the discouraged, the lost, the frustrated, the weak, the helpless. But sometimes the situation needs something slightly less, and the people who need the most help are those we envision have it all together, who have leadership standing in our midst.
I’m talking about the Chairmen, Vice-Chairmen and Secretaries of your church boards, the teachers and helpers in Sunday School and Pioneer programs, the leaders and helpers in Junior and Senior High youth, the workers in the Nursery, the secretary, the many people on the various committees working within the church, the people that meet and greet at the doors, the ushers, the tellers, the Church Treasurer, and probably a dozen or more groups of people that I’ve left out.
And above all - the pastors.
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, specifically in Romans 1:11-12, Paul indicates one of the reasons for his desire to visit the church in Rome. Not only does he desire to preach the word of God to them and share some spiritual gift or encouragement, but he looks forward to receiving encouragement from them.
Pastors and leaders within a church will have, if truly called by God, a sincere hunger and desire that the Word of God be proclaimed and that the people of the congregation to whom such pastor or leader ministers are encouraged in their Christian walk. But equally important, and vital to the sustaining the energy of leaders and pastor is their receipt of encouragement from the congregation. Paul said in Romans 15:30-31 “Now I urge you brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints.” And in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he outlined various trials and fears for his life he experienced in Asia, but crediting God with his preservation he writes “indeed we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And he will yet deliver us..” and then Paul credits the prayers of the church at Corinth as being instrumental in his uplifted spirits. “you also joining in helping us through your prayers, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favors bestowed on us through the prayers of many.”
Paul experienced exhaustion, tired arms and body, yet he always rejoiced in God because he trusted God, but also because he sensed the prayers of others. His tired arms were uplifted to continue the work.
Do we spend enough time uplifting the tired arms of the people in our church-the pastors, leaders, workers, staff people? When the arms get tired, the work slows down, and maybe disaster will follow.
Moses understood what it was to be tired. He was leading a stubborn, stiff-necked people through the wilderness, obedient to God, but wishing God had picked someone else for the task. Yet God in his patience provided Moses with the signs and wonders he needed to make his point. Every time the people grumbled, God provided a response that met the need. In Exodus, the wanderings are recorded, ....../3