Tuesday, January 27, 2009

counting men

Last night as I unpacked the final boxes of books and placed them in the few spaces left on my shelves, I began to wonder if one could have too many books. In my recent quest for simplicity, I have rid my home of many of my belongings. But, as I looked at the books, I realized there weren't really any that I wanted to get rid of.

As I stood there, I thought about a friend of mine who had counted his books and was nearing one thousand. I have never counted my books, and it occurred to me that I could. But, just as quickly as the thought crossed my mind, the story found in I Chronicles 21 also came to mind. It's here that we find King David wanting to count his warriors. And, he gives the order to number all of the fighting men. This command disgusts Joab though he does follow the orders of his king. We also read in this text that David's desire to count his men was not from God. So, the act of the numbering was detestable to the Lord as well. Because of David's disobedience, a plague falls upon the people who were under the care of King David.

This is sobering. Because of the disobedience of the leader, God curses the people.

We also read in the story that David repents and asks that the punishment fall on David and his household. And, God "relents" before destroying Jerusalem. Without getting into the theology of God relenting or King David's influence on God's decision, in some form the message is the same: a leader has great responsibility and great influence.

To be honest, I'm not too concerned about my leadership over the books in my Kingdom (though I don't think I will count them today). My concern instead is for my personal obedience and my leadership in the church. Moments like these, I am relieved that I am not called to the office of senior pastor (we'll skip my theology on this point as well...), but I also shudder as I consider the responsibility I find in guiding the people and direction of the worship ministry which is under my care. And, again I fall on my knees and utter:

Kýrie, eléison;
Christé, eléison;
Kýrie, eléison. Amen.

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