Last week, our state received news that the governor had decided to reopen Tennessee businesses. Some people let out a sigh of relief and some were left shaking their heads as if to say “too soon.”
Regardless of your opinion on the matter, I think we can all still agree that we are on shaky ground with the immediate future still unclear.
With Tennessee reopening for business, many Christians are also asking the question, “What does this mean for our church meetings?” or perhaps, “Can our meetings get back to normal now?”
No doubt, some churches will decide to jump right back into regularly-resumed meetings and on the other hand, some may choose to continue down the route of live stream and social distancing.
With this being said, let us not judge one another, churches or pastors, in the coming weeks based on their decisions. It’s so easy for that which is motivated by boldness or wisdom to quickly turn into stinking pride. Instead, I encourage you, beloved, love one another, pray for one another, esteem others better than yourself. Do not gossip, do not back bite, do not take sides. Rather, be compassionate, be pitiful, be merciful.
To the congregations, be extra supportive of your pastor. Remember, God has given him to you to watch for your souls. He is not your enemy, but loves you and only wants the best for you as does our Lord Jesus. More than ever, we need folks who will hold up the man of God in these trying times as he continually bears the full burden of the church.
I am reminded of a story from Exodus 17. Israel was waging war against Amalek, commanded by the mighty Joshua, and as long as Moses kept his hands lifted, Israel prevailed, but when he let his hands down, the enemy prevailed.
So, Aaron and Hur ministered to Moses by placing a stone under him to sit on, and when Moses had exhausted his strength and could no longer hold up his arms, “Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun” (Exodus 17:12).
Through this, Israel was eventually victorious.
Every now and then, and especially in intense battles, even a pastor needs a little help. He gets tired, worn down and drug through the spiritual mud just like the rest of us. He needs an Aaron and a Hur to keep his hands stayed up when he is spiritually exhausted.
No doubt, this virus, all the difficult decisions, and all the pleading prayer has worn out pastors and church leaders. Don’t condemn them if they choose to safeguard the flock by continuing to keep services online, neither revile those who decide to open. Every man must make the decision for his own congregation as led by the Lord. And if we hold on to Jesus and minister to one another in love, then we will see the victory.
Loved ones, we are stronger together.
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith … Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.” — Ephesians 4:13, Romans 14:13
Steven Croft is the senior pastor of Boyd Memorial First Church of God in Athens.