Jump Start # 2326
1 Samuel 14:52 “Now the war against the Philistines was severe all the days of Saul; and when Saul saw any mighty man or any valiant man, he attached him to his staff.”
So, as we begin with this verse today, let’s get the cute stuff out of the way. Yes, the passage says, “Saul saw”. Say that three times real fast and try to keep that straight.
There are two interesting thoughts from this verse.
First, the times were hard. The war against the Philistines was severe. The war against the Philistines was all the days of Saul. He reigned about forty years. He and his sons would be killed and their bodies displayed by the Philistines. Long years of war. Many deaths. Many broken homes and tears for men who never returned home. Children grew up without dads. Many families suffered in a climate where men worked and women didn’t.
It’s hard to imagine the heartache that is found under those few words, “the war against the Philistines was severe all the days of Saul.” We sing a hymn that begins, “Troublesome times are here, filling men’s hearts with fear…” The Holy Spirit didn’t show the grieving homes and the fear that these long wars created. That was not the intention. But, how similar this seems to so many of our “church announcements.” Someone has had surgery. Someone has lost a loved one. Someone has cancer. A simple statement. We hear it and hopefully, we remember to pray. But behind those few words, are many doctor and hospital visits, tons of medical tests, expenses, long days of not feeling well. Those words do not show the person sitting at the kitchen table with a mountain of insurance papers that they are trying to make sense of. They do not show the widow who is trying to figure out how to start the lawn mower or keep up with the house now that her husband is gone.
The war was serve and it lasted a long time. There’s much to that if we allow ourselves to think about that.
Second, Saul surrounded himself with quality people. The verse says any mighty men or valiant men were added to his staff. They were moved out of being foot soldiers to the leadership position. Saul understood that their abilities were beyond just fighting. They could help with the planning that is necessary to win battles. He saw in those men qualities that would help others. Sure they could stay out on the front lines and battle, but their real value would be in helping the armies as a whole. The bigger picture is what Saul understood.
What a great lesson for today’s church. Sometimes the leadership seems to be a closed club. No one is included and no one is added to this exclusive club. Some like it that way. Keep things the way they are. Saul understood the value of adding key people to his staff. Not everyone will meet the qualifications for an elder or deacon, yet, there may be some things that they can share with the leaders and help the church. There are guys who are wiz kids in the field of IT. They understand it, speak that language and can do so much. But often, they sit on the sidelines and are not asked for their ideas, input, or help, because they are not an elder or a deacon. Saul found some help in the mighty men. He included them. This is not an open door for another category of leadership beyond the overseer and deacon, but it is a call to use the talent that too often lies dormant in a congregation.
Here’s what I’ve seen:
- There are professional teachers in a congregation. That’s their jobs, teaching kids at school. Why not have them help your Bible class teachers. Share information about how to teach and help.
- There are those who are trained to be special ed teachers. Much too often, our Bible class teachers do not know what to do with the special ed student. Share the wealth of information and ideas.
- There are those who are very artsy. Let them share some ideas on how to spruce up the church building. Far too many places have long hallways that are blank, plain and not attractive. Put some things on those walls. Let the art folks share some ideas.
- There are those who are great at PR, graphics, and social media. Tap into those resources. Get ideas. Let them help you out.
This is not an attempt to turn the church into a business, nor run it like a business. But all around us are folks who have graduated with degrees in art, PR, IT, teaching, communications that can help a congregation. King Saul saw good people and he invited them into his circle. They were to bring ideas and help him.
Many of us preachers know how to preach and that’s about it. We don’t understand IT, social media or how to do so many things. And, when things are left to the preacher to do, usually it doesn’t get done. He doesn’t know how. He’s so busy doing what he is supposed to do that he can’t take the time to learn these other things. Some folks are idea oriented. They see things and understand how that could help out. Others do not have that gift. Include the idea folks. Take them out to lunch and allow them to make suggestions.
For instance, we are in the season of Gospel Meetings. So many churches will print out a meeting flyer to be mailed to other churches or passed out to friends. Some of these are plain black and white flyer that is hard to read and filled with too small of a font size. The flyer looks out of place in our world of color today. It needs some help. It needs a fresh look. It needs some color. It needs some better graphic adjustments. And, much too often, sitting right there in the pew is a the person who does that very thing at work. What they do looks amazing. Why don’t we include them and use them to help us?
Saul saw. Maybe that’s where all of this begins. Maybe we just need to lift up our eyes and see what we have among us. Use that talent. Share ideas. Don’t feel threatened. Don’t get jealous. Don’t limit what can be done to just a few. Don’t close the doors on ideas and suggestions.