The word-picture of Aaron and Hur supporting Moses' weakened arms is a vivid depiction of pastoral ministry. As pastors, we can relate to the story well, but have you ever considered how that specific situation must have looked to Joshua? His assignment was the faithful work of an associate.
The vision to conquer the Promised Land did not originate in the heart of Joshua. He was merely called to be a faithful steward of another man's vision. Moses experienced the burning bush and received God's call to lead the children of Israel into their new future; Joshua's task was to help bring that vision into fruition.
Such is the role of an associate pastor. I do not know of another passage of scripture that so clearly depicts the supportive role of a faithful associate! Joshua had the DNA of a capable leader. Those credentials do not conflict with associate ministry, but rather lend to effective, supportive leadership. God needed Joshua's leadership qualities as an associate leader.
Moses tells Joshua that there is a battle to fight against the Amalekites. Joshua is instructed to choose some men and go fight the enemy. Moses says that he will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God. That sounds safe! Joshua leads the charge knowing that every war is comprised of multiple battles. Moses is a wise leader and chooses his battles carefully. He knew that he did not have to win every battle to win the war. That is fine as long as you are not the one fighting the battle!
For an associate, ministry is great when your leader is spiritually in control and the staff of God is raised. owever, as Moses' arms grew weary he let down his guard/staff. Have you ever been let down by your leader? There is probably no greater challenge in ministry than serving a man who has become weakened and lowers the staff of God to his side.
I am intrigued by Joshua's character. He is in the trenches, fighting the battle as instructed. He sees Moses on the hilltop with the staff raised high and it is an adrenalin rush! Whatever task Joshua sets his hands to succeeds. This battle's victory is assured. Nevertheless, when Joshua looks back again at his leader he sees something that takes him by surprise. All of a sudden, the imminent victory begins to look like apparent defeat. Years ago, Don Meredith used to say on Monday Night Football, "looks like ole mo' just switched jerseys," referring to a momentum shift.
This single event threatened the integrity of the Israelites' relationship and the entrance into the Promised Land. There was much at stake and this served as a great test of Joshua's character and leadership skills. If he succumbed to his discouragement in his leader and retreated in the heat of the battle, there would be a price to pay. How could Joshua eventually lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land if he failed this test at hand? In Jesus' own words, "And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own?" (Luke 16:12)
Later on in life, Joshua would be given that which was his own. The vision that God established in the heart of Moses would ultimately become Joshua's vision, which was brought into fruition through obedience. Many effective leaders are shaped by faithfully following the lead of another. Joshua spent 40 years as an associate before leading one of the most notable accomplishments recorded in scripture. He kept his focus; he remained a faithful steward of another man's vision.
Ever feel like you need to wear a mask to cover up who you are? Are you concerned that, if people knew who you really are and how you really felt, they wouldn't understand?
One minister, two jobs and the family that's at the top of the list. The number of bivocational ministers, those in full- or part-time ministry who carry an additional job, is estimated by some researchers to be as high as 30 percent of ministers nationwide.
"You should see the church they attend," Lucille said, armed with bulletin and newsletter. Creases formed across my brow as celebration gave way to comparisons a trap that had sprung too many times.