Over the years I’ve felt mostly support as I’ve taught God’s Word, ministered to women, and served in the church. I wrote “mostly” because there have been a few minor occasions when individuals objected to a certain aspect of ministry or a specific action. While none of them were serious, it did give me a sense of what strong opposition by another believer might feel like.
Support or Opposition?
I thought of this recently when I read about the friendship between David and Jonathan during my daily quiet time. As always, Jonathan’s loyalty struck me. But this time through 1 Samuel, what stood out even more was how Jonathan’s support of David sharply contrasted with Saul’s opposition.
19 Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan had taken a great liking to David 2 and warned him, “My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there. 3 I will go out and stand with my father in the field where you are. I’ll speak to him about you and will tell you what I find out.” 4 Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly. 5 He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine. The LORD won a great victory for all Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason?”
1 Samuel 19:1-5, NIV
Jonathan recognized God was working through David to accomplish His purposes (vs 5). Therefore, Jonathan supported David and refused to side with his father. Saul opposed David because of jealousy. David’s success drew attention and Saul sought his own glory instead of God’s. Jonathan was David’s friend, but his father Saul was David’s foe.
Unity among believers
Jealousy is only one of many reasons believers oppose each other. Tradition, misunderstanding, personality clashes, hurt feelings, and more all work to pit believer against believer. God calls believers to unity (1 Corinthians 12:25). He wants us to strengthen, encourage, and help each other as we carry out the work He has for us.
God uses many wonderful Christian friends to spur me on in ministry and service. In fact there have been a few times that I might have given up on a task had not one of them “intervened” with encouragement. I thank God for every one of them.
I also want to support other believers. I want to be a friend and not a foe as they serve God and minister to His people.
In what ways have other believers supported and encouraged you? Is there someone in your life now that needs your support? How can you do that in practical ways?