Behind The Battle Lines

Staying By The Baggage Receives Equal Blessing

Staying By The Baggage Receives Equal Blessing

Soon after accepting the Lord I spent a day in prayer and fasting. I was determined to hear from God. My prayer was, “In which ministry do you want me to work?” I wanted to obey the Great Commission of Christ to go into all the world with the good news of Jesus. Did He want to use me as a pastor? A missionary? In a para-church organization like the Navigators? Or maybe in a community ministry? I spent the day searching the scriptures and begging God to reveal His will for my personal ministry.

It’s a long story and I won’t go into the details but to my shock and disappointment God said “NO” – I very clearly heard from Him that He wanted me to be a ministering layman instead of a full-time worker. There was a long period of time I felt something must be deficient in me for God, who I thought needed workers so badly, not to want to use me.

I felt like I had nowhere to “Go” – God didn’t want me and I was missing out.

I dreaded Missionary Conferences. I thought, “Why do they get to be on the front lines of spiritual battle and I have to stay behind.”

I knew I could pray and give my financial support but it felt like I was missing out – not quite up to the quality of a front line soldier in the army of God. I was jealous, frustrated, and resigned. Being around missionaries at missions conferences made me feel like a 2nd class Christian.

Then I read 1 Samuel 30 and God gave me a life changing message……  David’s home town had been attacked and he wanted to know God’s will. Did God want him to go to the battle or not?

David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I pursue this band? Shall I overtake them?” And He said to him, “Pursue, for you will surely overtake them, and you will surely rescue all.”       1 Samuel 30:8

That’s what I had been asking…. Do you want me to go to battle? And I liked the answer God gave David, “Go and I’ll give you victory.”

Then a strange thing happens. David and his elite band of 600 men went to fight – they were obedient to God’s leading.

BUT … Not all went to the battle.

So David went, he and the six hundred men who were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those left behind remained. But David pursued, he and four hundred men, for two hundred who were too exhausted to cross the brook Besor remained behind.         1 Samuel 30:9,10

This felt very familiar to me… there were two places in the battle – front line troops and support troops who stayed back with the baggage.

To summarize the rest of the story, in verses 11 through 16 David and 400 front line soldiers go to battle. In verses 17 to 20 God gives an amazing victory. And I’m thinking, “Great, another story of spiritual fighting and victory while I’m sitting back home with the baggage.”

The men who went to the struggle with David were blessed. They rejoiced in the spoils of victory and thought that those who stayed back and didn’t go to the battle should get second class rewards.  Then a really amazing thing happens.   David returns to camp. When he sees the men who stayed back in the support camp he gave them a formal military salute of honor and made a proclamation that became a law and literally changed my perspective on serving God. Note what David says,

“And who will listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down to the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.” So it has been from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.                1 Samuel 30:24,25

Do you see what he said? David proclaims that the support troops who stay home, work their jobs, give financially, pray earnestly, but never get to the front lines of the mission field get the EXACT SAME REWARDS as the front line troops!

All of a sudden, supporting missionaries becomes a partnership in blessing. There are no 2nd class soldiers. All believers are in the fight. We all have the Great Commission as a command. But we all can’t physically go to the mission field. We all can indeed serve in the battle – some as support troops and some as full-time front line troops. But God blesses both equally.

This is what I call “equal and reciprocal blessing.” When we support our front line troops in their ministry efforts, we are equally blessed. We are “fellow” workers – “fellow” meaning “of equal status.”

Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth.      3 John 8

Jesus made this clear in John 13:16 when He said,

“Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.”

In God’s economy of ministry scale the prayer supporters, financial givers, the kid’s ministry workers, the cleaning crew, the media and sound people, the secretaries, the greeters and coffee team all have equal blessings with the pastors, missionaries, and other “full time” Front Line workers. We share alike….. We supporters receive equal blessings as our fellow workers out on the mission field.

Put your time and treasure to work in the ministry.

“For as his share is who goes down to the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.”                       1 Samuel 30:24

Think about it.

6 Comments

  • Vicki Seagroves says:

    Absolutely love this, sometimes we are just chomping at the bit to go, go, go when in reality God wants us to be faithful prayer warriors. Sometimes staying in our own camps and working within. So true, thank you for sharing!

  • Matt Brown says:

    Good word for gaining the right perspective on the role each of us have in the church.. No one role is greater then another each serves an end. Nothing is ever of little value in God’s economy.

  • Vivian Centafont says:

    I love this! Your Mission Field could be anywhere, it’s where God puts you. There is work to be done everywhere. As you said, it’s us being obedient to God. Equal and reciprocal blessing, this is astounding when people realize God wants to bless us for being obedient to the tiniest of things that He has put us in place to do. Each position you named in the church is like a puzzle and one missing piece, the puzzle is never finished. Great writings from the heart. I want to thank you for being obedient to The Lord and sharing this. This needs to be handed out at GIC. (just saying)

    • Len Allen says:

      Thank you all for the wonderful comments and encouragement. I’ve gotten these comments plus emails, Facebook comments, phone calls, even one friend who is reprinting it to give out to the small groups of his church. Thank ya’ll for the blessings.

  • Sheila Hale says:

    Behind the Battle Line is just such a comforting and delightful blog. Sometimes I feel as though I never do enough for the Lord but really I know that He has me just where He wants me.

    I don’t have to strive just carry on doing as He directs for Him.

    I am so grateful for your writings. I feel ministered to by you Len and I have such a sense of peace when I begin to read your work. I escape into it. Thank you and may the Lord bless you.

Leave a Comment