“And between the passages, by which Jonathan sought to go over unto the Philistines’ garrison, there was a sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other side;… And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over…: it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few. And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.”
1 Samuel 14: 4-7KJV
As I read this passage this morning the first encouragement was simply in the faith of Jonathan. He was in a difficult and uncomfortable position yet he knew the Lord had directed him this far and would protect him going forward. As Christians we sometimes will be in the same position when seeking after and following God’s plan for our lives. Things won’t always be comfortable or easy but our focus shouldn’t be on “the rock and the hard place” but on The Rock (God) and on the garrison of Philistines on the other side: God’s intended destination for us.
Then I finished verse 7 and my mind automatically went a different place. Wow. Growing up in the ministry how often have I seen my dad, my pastor, put between a rock and a hard place. Sometimes by the Lord’s leading to grow him, sometimes man-made by the choices of people in our ministry. These times are never pleasant, but how often have I been encouraged by laymen who, seeing his struggle and discouragement, have stepped up beside him and said as Jonathan’s armourbearer, “Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.” Unless you’ve been involved in the ministry, you really can never understand how big an impact such a statement can make on the heart of your pastor.
Today, as a pastor, a missionary, an evangelist, a church planter, a Christian, be encouraged. Stay focussed on The Rock that is higher than you instead of the rock and the hard place. Your end is not the hard place. Your destination is the Philistines’ garrison where God’s mighty hand will be clearly displayed in your life and service for Him.
As a layman, working faithfully in your church as a Sunday School teacher, a song leader, a bus captain, a nursery worker, a janitor, an usher, a choir member, be an encourager! You don’t know what your pastor is facing today or between what “rock and a hard place” he finds himself this morning. Call him. Text him. Let him know you are there to be his armourbearer, his encourager. Let him know you’re behind him; that you trust his leadership because you know He’s following God. Many men have quit their pulpits because of discouragement and loneliness. How many could have been saved simply by an armourbearer coming alongside and saying, “Do all that is in thine heart:… I am with thee according to thy heart.”