For almost two decades, providing able men has been a hallmark of Pastor Duttry's leadership and vision for First Baptist Church. A great many men and women have gone into full-time ministry during these years. I have been blessed to watch this training and sending take place both under a microscope and through a telescope. For eight years from a distance, April and I continued to watch this church send out people into the harvest fields. And we have also had two opportunities to watch this training and sending take place up-close and in-person.
On several occasions, Pastor has conveyed to me that this commitment to train and send has been cultivated from Exodus 18 and the Gospel of Mark. Allow me to focus on that first passage for just a moment. In this passage, Moses' father-in-law Jethro suggested that he equip a group of people to serve with him in order to allow Moses to do ministry that no one else could do. In fact, Jethro put it this way: In verse 21, he told Moses, "... thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, ..." Now we know that this was a suggestion from Jethro; but we also know that Moses saw wisdom in this advice. Moreover, it becomes clear that this ministry model was part of God's plan for how Moses would lead Israel. Implementing this counsel would make Moses' load easier to bear.
We see the same principle of leadership and training in another instance in the Bible in the lives of David and Solomon. So let's jump forward several centuries in the Biblical narrative. Solomon is now king of Israel and he is launching into a major building project on a piece of ground that his father David had purchased a few years earlier. Imagine the magnitude of this project! Building the Temple and surrounding buildings would take Solomon twenty years - that was half of his reign over Israel. Talk about a huge undertaking! But as Solomon was preparing to break ground, he was searching for particularly skilled and capable people to help him. Notice what he wrote in 2 Chronicles 2:7, "Send me now therefore a man cunning to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in iron, and in purple, and crimson, and blue, and that can skill to grave with the cunning men that are with me in Judah and in Jerusalem, whom David my father did provide." Did you catch that? Not only had David provided an immense fortune for building the Temple, but David had also provided and trained men. David had invested in providing exactly the sort of men that his son Solomon would need to accomplish the assignment that God had given him to do.
Here's the point: Solomon's job was made easier because David was committed to providing the kind of men that were necessary for the task.
And here's the question: Who are you preparing to serve God in the next generation? Living for God in the United States is not about to get easier; it's going to become more and more difficult. That being the case, what are we doing now to provide others to stand for God into the future? Moses provided others to serve God in the future. David provided others to serve God in the future. Who am I providing who will serve God in the future no matter how difficult the task?
Written by Edward Barclay