Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)
Team players. Everyone likes them. Everyone needs them. Lone Ranger types who act alone can have a place, but a limited one. Every leader greatly those under him who are both competent and willing to serve. Many people are either competent but not willing or very willing but not very competent. Special indeed is the leader who has helpers who are both! God, too, greatly appreciates workers who are both in His Kingdom work.
When I think of behind-the-scenes men who served capably and willingly, and who were willing to step up to the plate when needed, I think of Zerubabbel and Ezra. These 2 men each led groups of Jews back to Jerusalem from their captivity in Babylon.
Zerubbable was the grandson of the 2nd last king of Judah (Jehoiachin). One hundred years before Nehemiah, he led the first group of Jews back to Jerusalem. Not many wanted to return, though – only about 1 of every hundred. Most didn’t want to leave the prosperity and good living in Babylon to return to a depressed and ruined country. Unfortunately some, like Daniel (who was in his 60’s) were too old to go back. When Zerubbable led his group of 15,000 back, God provided Haggai and Zechariah to preach while he led the work of rebuilding the temple. They didn’t get too far, though, before they stopped for 20 years. Then they finished their work. It was during this time that Hadassah, better known to you as Esther, was used by God to preserve the Jews from annihilation not only in Persia but also in Palestine.
Eight five years after Zerubbable, Ezra led another group of people back to Jerusalem. He was a great-grandson of the man who was the high priest when Jerusalem fell. He was the equivalent of the Secretary of State for Jewish affairs. Ezra was a godly scholar who knew the Old Testament by heart. He wrote the books of Ezra, Chronicles and Psalm 119 as well as finishing books such as Deuteronomy and Joshua. Ezra edited the whole Old Testament, changing it over to the square Hebrew script which is still used today. He also started the synagogue system which your church and school systems are built upon. The synagogue system kept the Jews together when they were away from their temple. In addition, Ezra developed the Sanhedrin, 70 top men to govern Jews in and out of the land. Only 1,500 men followed him back. He taught the Bible and persevered in trying to encourage them to follow God. He didn’t get much good response, though. At one point, when Nehemiah had come and led in rebuilding the walls, there was a revival and the people turned to Ezra to learn the Scriptures, but for the most part his ministry was hard, behind-the-scenes teaching and encouraging the people.
Yet each of these men served faithfully for their whole lives. They worked at whatever task God gave them and faithfully carried it out. They were available to step to the front when needed, then fade to the back again as others took over. Like a good all-around athlete who can play any position, they were invaluable members of God’s team. And they remain so today.
Ezra 10:4, “Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.”
2 Timothy 4:16-17, “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength…”
Ezekiel 22:30, “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.”
- Would others consider you a good team player?
- What are some of your strengths as a support worker? What about weaknesses?
- Do you look for ways to assist others in their lives and duties, or do you expect others will be there to help you?
- Who do you count on to be your behind-the-scenes support, someone competent and willing? Thank God for them and take some time ASAP to thank them for this important role in your life.
Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!
Posted on September 27, 2009