1 Chronicles 9:10-13 – Praying to Be A Very Able Man!

Posted: February 6, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 9:10-13

The Returning Priests

In my past life as a corporate accountant, the last decade of which I was the chief financial executive of a division of the American arm of a Japanese company, there was a cycle to the work to which I had grown accustomed. There was the first week of the month after the previous month had ended where it was two days of intense work getting the books closed. There was then two to three days of intense work preparing the monthly financial reports and writing all the commentary of what happened the previous month and then preparing materials for the monthly management meetings. It would be ramped up at the end of a quarter and then especially at year-end. After the intense first week where 70 hour weeks were common, there was two weeks of doing reconciliations to ensure that all our balance sheet and income statement accounts had their contents properly identified and any errors were corrected and so on. It was tedious but necessary work by me and my small staff. By the end of the reconciliation process at the end of the third week, you had completed everything there was about the previous month. All the while during the first three weeks of the month of course, you had to deal with things going on currently as you do in any job. Then finally the last week of the month would arrive and you could breath a bit. Take it easy a bit. Plan for the future a bit. It was the low pressure week of the month.

As you can see there was a cycle to it all that got repeated every month. The first week of the month was intense as all get out. Time pressures were high. Getting everything right at month-end so that the books were accurate. Time pressure to get it done quickly and reported up the chain – first to our American group headquarters and then ultimately to our Japanese parent company. The second and third weeks were intense but nothing compared to week 1. Then the last week of the month was the breather before the whole process would start over again. I could always count on getting that last week of the month to slow down, catch my breath and relax a little at work. And things were similar in my first full time position in the church world at the church in Illinois where I was the Director of Business Services/Staff Pastor. Of my title it was more the before the slash in the title than it was after the slash in the title. So, the same cycle to life was there and I could count on the last week of the month to catch my breath and relax a little.

But now things have changed as the solo pastor of the church that I currently serve. There is no down time. There is no catch your breath time. It is constant all four weeks of the month with the same level of intensity every week. I had always heard that being a pastor was hard. I kind of halfway agreed since I had grown up in a pastor’s home. But as a solo pastor now, I know it to be true. There is so much that goes on, so many things that you have to be good at all at the same time to keep each and every ministry of the church alive and growing and moving forward. And then there is the sermon process. You stand in the narthex of the church at the end of a Sunday service and accept congratulations on a good sermon or criticism from those who thought it needed some improvement and after you shake the last hand and then you think to yourself, man that sermon was a struggle to write and get in preaching form by Sunday. And, then, you think, I gotta do it all again beginning tomorrow – amidst all the things that pull at a solo pastor during the course of a week. It takes stamina. There are no peaks and valleys in the work of a solo pastor. It’s constant and unrelenting. There is no up and down to the intensity level. It is constant. Always something that demands a high level of attention. Always.

Pastoral ministry is not for the lazy or those seeking an easy job. It is as the scripture for today states a job for very able men. You must be able to carry the level of pressure and keep your eyes on the long range while slogging away at the day to day. You must be able to keep your focus on Jesus Christ and discipling your people into a deeper relationship with Him while doing all the mechanics of leading the day to day operations and ministries of a church. It is no easy job. There is no down time. So, if there is anything you can pray about for your pastor is (1) that he can keep His eyes on Jesus all the while dealing with the mundane day to day stuff and (2) that He finds time to rest and pursue his own relationship with Jesus Christ.

That’s what I thought of this morning as I read about the returning priests in 1 Chronicles 9:10-13 and got struck by that phrase “very able men” because I can relate now to how hard it is to be a pastor. Let’s read the passage now:

10 Among the priests who returned were Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, Jakin, 11 Azariah son of Hilkiah, son of Meshullam, son of Zadok, son of Meraioth, son of Ahitub. Azariah was the chief officer of the house of God.

12 Other returning priests were Adaiah son of Jeroham, son of Pashhur, son of Malkijah, and Maasai son of Adiel, son of Jahzerah, son of Meshullam, son of Meshillemith, son of Immer.

13 In all, 1,760 priests returned. They were heads of clans and very able men. They were responsible for ministering at the house of God.

In this passage we see that this phrase, “very able men” is translated “mighty men of valor” in many other Old Testament passages (Joshua 1:14, Judges 6:12, 1 Samuel 16:18, and many others). It shows that when it came to doing the work of the service of the house of God, it takes a man of strength and courage, the same qualities that are needed in a warrior.

So, for today, I pray that I can be a very able man in my role as a pastor. I pray that I can keep my eyes on the prize – winning souls to Christ, and leading those who are already followers of Christ into ever deeper relationships with Him, while writing sermons every week, while running the business of church, while leading ministries, while visiting potential and existing members, while visiting hospitals, while counseling, while planning for six months from now, a year from now, and so on. Lord, help me to be a very able man.

Amen and Amen.

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