2 Chronicles 14:9-15 – “You Got An Easy Job! You Only Work One Day A Week, Right?”

Posted: August 21, 2020 in 14-2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 14:9-15

Asa Rules in Judah

Opening Illustration/Comments

It is ironic that I both enjoy immensely what I am doing now as my career, my calling, but, yet, at the same time, it being the hardest thing I have ever done. Being a pastor is not the easiest job in the world. There was an old Peace Corps recruiting advertisement from back in the early 70’s that I remember whose slogan was, “It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love!” That’s the deep irony that I feel right now. I love what I am doing more than ever in my life but yet at the same time, the successes in ministry sure don’t come as easily or as frequent as they did in my previous career. I love what I am doing but feel totally inadequate for the task. Ever felt that way in your life?

I remember when I had my first job when I started my career in accounting back in January 1984. Fresh out of college a scant six months before, my first accounting job was as an internal auditor with the School District of Greenville County (one of the largest school districts in the country in size and student count). I was responsible for auditing all the schools in the southwest region of the district. As a result, though I reported to my audit director at the overall district office in downtown Greenville, SC, I worked out of the southwest region office with the other district level employees who had instructional, support services and/or supervisory responsibilities for that sector of the district.  One of the jokes that we had around the office was that “the school district is a great place to work … if it weren’t for all the kids!” It was a tongue in cheek joke because, as you could surmise, the whole reason for us being employed was ultimately … the kids. A similar joke can be made about pastoral ministry. It’s a great job if it weren’t for all the church members. LOL! Again, that is tongue in cheek humor, because the church members are the whole reason that pastors have jobs.

There is also a joke that those who are not pastors make about us too. You know. You’ve heard it before. That must be a great job. You only have to work one, maybe two, hours a week. Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I knew that was not the case, but you don’t really understand the difficulties of being a solo pastor at a smaller church or a senior pastor of a staff of pastors and support staff at a larger church. When you are the solo or senior pastor you finally see the difficulties of the calling and the job. As a solo pastor as I am, the load can be tremendous even in the best of times where everything is working. When you are the solo pastor there is no subordinate pastor or support staff that you can hand things off to. You have to make sure all the functions of the church work well all on your own and write sermons and preach and visit with members and go to the hospitals and so on and so on and so on.

However, throw on top of that, operating in today’s Coronavirus environment and trying to ensure the church continues on as normal as possible. It can be overwhelming. Trying to disciple our people into deeper relationships with Christ remotely is difficult. Trying to develop leaders within the church so that the church will survive regardless of who the preacher is difficult. Add on top of that, many church members are fearful of returning to church while this pandemic seems NOT to be settling down. Add on top of that, many people in our church who work in direct contact with the public are stressed out and burnt out on all the precautions they have to take in their jobs. Thus, there is that heavy burden of how this virus may in the end when it’s over have permanently crippled the church I serve (and all churches for that matter). The fear that the relevancy of church that was in doubt before the virus may have been exacerbated during it and after it. That will keep you awake at night.

Then, add to that, the non-virus related politics of being a pastor of a church, where there is the eternal and age-old issue of you as a flawed individual leading members who are all flawed individuals. Things you say and do (and not just in a sermon, but in the everyday life of church) can make one set of members happy and another set of members angry all from the same action. There are people who freely criticize you to others but make you think that there’s nothing wrong when they are in your presence. People who quit coming to church because of something you said. People who decide to quit leading a ministry and won’t tell you the real reason why. People who decide to quit leading a ministry and WILL tell you why and the reasons are about something other than eternal or theological matters. People who just disappear from church and won’t take your phone calls. All that will keep you awake at night.

Then, there’s your own fears, even in a non-Coronavirus environment, as to whether you are killing your church or not, whether you are doing what is best for the church or not, was that sermon the best that I could do this week, are my sermons even landing with my people, and all the doubts about your leadership abilities, much less the actual failures that you have had in this church as a leader. Then, there’s the fears of not knowing everything you need to know to effectively pastor any church much less this one you serve right now. Then, there’s the doubts about your own theological knowledge and whether it’s adequate to effectively minister to church members needs. You worry that you don’t have the ability to enhance or even correct what people believe as the doctrinal truths of the Bible. You worry that you don’t have the charisma to inspire the people of your church with your sermons. You worry that you don’t have the charisma to inspire the people of your church to be fully involved in hands and feet of Christ ministries as individuals and as a corporate body of the church. That will keep you awake at night.

The stuff that will keep you awake at night is what drives you to your knees before the Lord. I have come to one unmistakable conclusion in these 14 months of being a solo pastor, the only pastor, the pastor of the church I serve. That conclusion is that being a pastor of any church is far too big for any man. I must bow before the Lord and cry out to Him for His help. After all, if you are a pastor like me, it’s not your church. It’s not even your church members’ church. It is His church. I must humble myself daily before Him at this calling He has given me. It’s way too big for even the best pastor much less a rookie one like me. That’s where it comes down to being like Asa when he saw the vast army of men from the Ethiopian kingdom before him and his army of Judea. He was overwhelmed by it all and probably scared to death.

He then cried out to God for help. That’s what I must do every year, every month, every day that I am a pastor and I am glad that God is teaching me in this earliest season of my ministry. I cry out as Asa did, “O Lord! no one but You can help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in You alone!” That was Asa’s cry. This is my cry.

It is that idea of being overwhelmed by your task ahead and it being a good lesson that I thought about this morning when reading this passage, 2 Chronicles 14:9-15. Let’s read through it this morning, together, with that idea in mind:

Scripture Passage

9 Once an Ethiopian[a] named Zerah attacked Judah with an army of 1,000,000 men[b] and 300 chariots. They advanced to the town of Mareshah, 10 so Asa deployed his armies for battle in the valley north of Mareshah.[c] 11 Then Asa cried out to the Lord his God, “O Lord, no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in you alone. It is in your name that we have come against this vast horde. O Lord, you are our God; do not let mere men prevail against you!”

12 So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians[d] in the presence of Asa and the army of Judah, and the enemy fled. 13 Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar, and so many Ethiopians fell that they were unable to rally. They were destroyed by the Lord and his army, and the army of Judah carried off a vast amount of plunder.

14 While they were at Gerar, they attacked all the towns in that area, and terror from the Lord came upon the people there. As a result, a vast amount of plunder was taken from these towns, too. 15 They also attacked the camps of herdsmen and captured many sheep, goats, and camels before finally returning to Jerusalem.

Passage Analysis

In this passage, we see that Asa cried out to God for help, recognizing his powerlessness against such a vast horde of enemy soldiers. The secret to victory here was that Asa recognized right away that he saw the futility of any attempt on his own, under his own human effort, to defeat the enemy. Not only was defeat a certainty but also complete annihilation of his men was a distinct probability. He, then, look to God and trusted Him to save them. God wants us to depend on Him in all situations. His power works best in us when we recognize our human limitations and frailties and flaws (see also 2 Corinthians 12:9). It is those who think they can do it all on their own who are in the greatest danger of defeat in whatever endeavors we try without depending on God.

Life Application

I think the thing that we need to takeaway this morning is that my ministry as a pastor is not about how charismatic I am as a person, as a leader, as a pastor. It’s not about how many people like me. It’s not about whether the numbers are increasing or decreasing. It’s about learning to be humbled before the Lord at the enormity of being a pastor of people in a church. It’s about depending solely on Him. He’s the Go-To God. He is where we should look first before any decision. He is where we should go when things don’t look good. He is where we should go when there is turmoil. He is where we should go when there is peace. He is just where we should go – to kneel humbly before Him and say, “O Lord, I am inadequate for what you have called me to do, please help me. Humbly, I ask you to be for me everything that I am not for the good of my ministry and for the people you have entrusted to my care.”

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