Old Testament reading: 1 Kings 19-20
Every preacher I know suffers from “Elijah Syndrome” at some point in his work, and generally more than once as he continues to work for the Lord for any period of time. “Elijah Syndrome” is a terrible malady wherein one believes he is the only one who is trying to serve the Lord in his particular location. God’s answer to Elijah’s claim informed him that there were 7000 (perhaps a little numerology here?) men “who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” I am perplexed at Elijah’s statement of despair in light of God’s miraculous provision only 40 days earlier. Every day he went in the strength of that one meal (19:8) was testimony to God’s love and care. Paul cited this account to remind the Romans that God always has a faithful remnant to serve Him (Rom 11:1-4). This reminder continues to serve God’s preachers today. One note before we leave this text. It is often said that God spoke to Elijah in a still small voice, but 1 Kings 19:12-13 teaches nothing of the sort. It only says Elijah heard a still small voice, and hearing it ran to the entrance of the cave. It was there that God spoke to Elijah, and not in the still small voice as so many mistakenly believe.
New Testament reading: Acts 5-6
“It is not fit for us to wait on tables.” Acts 6 shows us the need for delegating the work of the local church. There is nothing inherently inferior with making sure widows are properly cared for, but the apostles had a greater calling than to “wait on tables.” I can’t help but think of all the local preachers who are required to “wait on tables,” taking away from their true love and calling, namely, the study and preaching of God’s word. Too many local preachers are de facto pastors, having to oversee the smallest of details in the local work. Many are trying to do their work as well as that which should be carried out by the elders and deacons. The effectiveness of the local preacher is too often measured by these things and not the true “work of an evangelist” (2 Tim 4:1-5). In a quarter century of full time minstry, I have come to realize that brethren are content to let the preacher do everything for them, including the Bible study they themselves should be undertaking.