1 Chronicles 11:20-47 (Part 2) – That Brief Moment of Greatest Satisfaction

Posted: March 9, 2020 in 11-1 Kings

1 Chronicles 11:20-47 (Part 2 of 2)

David’s Thirty Mighty Men

Benaiah is probably one of the most obscure characters in the Bible but he provides us with some food to munch on as Christ followers on two levels. In my last blog, I talked about men of courage in times of trouble. Benaiah also teaches that point as well. Second, he teaches us that courage is realizing that trying to avoid conflict just so we can arrive safely at death is no way to live.

Over the last 8 ½ months as the solo pastor of a smaller church and over the last two years in full-time vocational ministry, I have wondered why I followed the call to full-time ministry. Even as the solo pastor of a smaller church, the task can be overwhelming at times. There are so many things that go into being the pastor of a smaller and long-established church.

First, there is the constancy of being the leader of the church that were not present in my secular career as a corporate accountant. In the world of corporate finance and corporate internal auditing, as I have explained before, there were cycles to that life each month. In my early career, I was an internal auditor and there were two weeks out of town where we worked 70-90 hours per week getting the fieldwork of an internal audit done and then back home for two weeks to get the audit report done and to cool down from the intensity of the workload of the out of town two weeks. In the world of corporate financial management, there was month-end closing week where you would put in 80 hours or so in a week to mange the month-end closings, quarter-end closings, and year-end closings. Then, there was two weeks of doing reconciliations and reports about what happened last month and so on. And then the final week of the month was time to take a breath before the whole process started up again. Here, now, as the pastor, the only pastor, at this church, there is a constancy of the job. There is no down week or weeks to catch your breath. You have to be planning 6 months ahead. You have to be writing sermons every week. You have to have meetings with ministry leaders and with full committees. You have to plan the worship service each week. You have to visit the sick. You have to visit members on a regular basis. I was telling someone the other day, as you stand at the rear of the church as everyone is exiting after the service, you have everyone telling you whether they liked the sermon or not. And for a brief moment, you have a feeling of accomplishment for the week at hand. As the last person exits the church, you then realize, the process now starts over again, immediately.

The weight of it all can be overwhelming at times and you wonder why you left your cyclical secular job to begin with. Then, there is the up and down nature of ministry. You have joy over something happening in one ministry of the church but that is offset by disappointment in another area of ministry. You can have agreement with one leader and disagreement with another. Sometimes all these things happen in the same day. It’s all just a very different animal from the cyclical nature of my prior career.

That’s not to say that I do not enjoy what I am doing, I certainly do. I really don’t feel like I am working though I am working harder I think than I have since my internal audit days. When you are working at what God has called you to do, it doesn’t seem as much like work as my other work from my previous career. The rises and the falls and the constancy of this pastoral thing is just more of a toll because I am putting all of my heart and soul into be a pastor. It would have been easier just to stay in my safe, well-understood, predictable, cyclical secular job as a corporate controller but sometimes in life you must jump in the pit with the lion when God calls you to do so.

Let’s read this passage now with particular attention to the part of the passage about Benaiah:

20 Now Abishai,[a] the brother of Joab, was chief of the Thirty.[b] With his spear he fought against three hundred and killed them, and won a name beside the Three. 21 He was the most renowned[c] of the Thirty,[d] and became their commander; but he did not attain to the Three.

22 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant man[e] of Kabzeel, a doer of great deeds; he struck down two sons of[f] Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen. 23 And he killed an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits tall. The Egyptian had in his hand a spear like a weaver’s beam; but Benaiah went against him with a staff, snatched the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and killed him with his own spear. 24 Such were the things Benaiah son of Jehoiada did, and he won a name beside the three warriors. 25 He was renowned among the Thirty, but he did not attain to the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.

26 The warriors of the armies were Asahel brother of Joab, Elhanan son of Dodo of Bethlehem, 27 Shammoth of Harod,[g] Helez the Pelonite, 28 Ira son of Ikkesh of Tekoa, Abiezer of Anathoth, 29 Sibbecai the Hushathite, Ilai the Ahohite, 30 Maharai of Netophah, Heled son of Baanah of Netophah, 31 Ithai son of Ribai of Gibeah of the Benjaminites, Benaiah of Pirathon, 32 Hurai of the wadis of Gaash, Abiel the Arbathite, 33 Azmaveth of Baharum, Eliahba of Shaalbon, 34 Hashem[h] the Gizonite, Jonathan son of Shagee the Hararite, 35 Ahiam son of Sachar the Hararite, Eliphal son of Ur, 36 Hepher the Mecherathite, Ahijah the Pelonite, 37 Hezro of Carmel, Naarai son of Ezbai, 38 Joel the brother of Nathan, Mibhar son of Hagri, 39 Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai of Beeroth, the armor-bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah, 40 Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite, 41 Uriah the Hittite, Zabad son of Ahlai, 42 Adina son of Shiza the Reubenite, a leader of the Reubenites, and thirty with him, 43 Hanan son of Maacah, and Joshaphat the Mithnite, 44 Uzzia the Ashterathite, Shama and Jeiel sons of Hotham the Aroerite, 45 Jediael son of Shimri, and his brother Joha the Tizite, 46 Eliel the Mahavite, and Jeribai and Joshaviah sons of Elnaam, and Ithmah the Moabite, 47 Eliel, and Obed, and Jaasiel the Mezobaite.

In this passage, we see that Benaiah chased a lion down into a pit. Then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught the lion and killed it. You will look back longingly on risks not taken, opportunities not seized, and dreams not pursued. Stop running away from what scares you most and start chasing the God-ordained opportunities that cross your path. This act one of the most obscure yet courageous acts recorded in Scripture, a blessed and audacious act that left no regrets.

What if I had stayed in my cushy, pleasantly-more-than-adequately-compensated position, where I was the man in charge of the finance team for my division of the company I had worked for a decade. I could still be there right now if I had not resigned. The job was good for me and my wife and securing our financial future. What if I had stayed? Since 2011, the Lord had been calling me to ministry and we spent the next 7 years preparing for it. What if I had ignored the call? I would certainly be in a more predictable and safe job where the conflicts were farther apart and the job was easier because that’s what I had been working in for 3 decades since college graduation. It would have been safe. But I would have had regrets. I know it. If I had not followed the call, I would not have jumped in the pit. I would not be fighting the lion of a new career. I would not either have known the satisfaction that I get for that moment at the end of the service and the last person has left the sanctuary. That’s the sweet spot every week. That brief moment.

That brief moment is a feeling of utter peace and satisfaction of having done what God called me to do for another week. That brief moment where I can sit for a moment in the pit after having killed the lion for another week. That brief moment where my soul is at rest in knowing that regardless of what anyone else thinks I have done my duty as the Lord has laid it out to me. That brief moment I get my greatest satisfaction of my life. Another week complete. Another week I have served the Lord in the way that He has called me to do it.

Then, it starts all over again. Another pit. Another lion. Another week to serve the Lord. And….

Amen and Amen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s