If any of you are afraid, you may go home. We don’t want you to discourage the other soldiers.
~Deuteronomy 20:8, CEV
Spread cheer, not fear!
In Deuteronomy, Moses list the procedures for going to battle. First the Priest would address the troops. I am sure this including a prayer and a blessing. He would also speak to them about fear. “Soldiers of Israel, listen to me! Today when you go into battle, don’t be afraid of the enemy, and when you see them, don’t panic. The Lord your God will fight alongside you and help you win the battle.” Then one of the officers would speak to the troops: He gave deferments to those who had built new houses but had not dedicated them, or those who had planted vineyards and had not eaten any of the produce, or those engaged but who had not married. The last deferment is the strangest I suppose it was for those who were afraid and could not control their fear. Panic is contagious; one man’s fear can put an entire army to flight. It is like driving cattle, if one breaks and runs, you are in trouble. They tried to weed out the cowards. Only God knows if I would be in the group of cowards. I hope not but I am not battle tested; at least not in mortal combat.
Moses was using good common sense. One man’s fear can discourage the whole group. As a pastor, I go into disturbing situation. Actually, it is more than that, some are absolutely heartbreaking. You do not know at the times I have stood at the door praying, “Father, these people are hurting, don’t let me discourage them. Don’t let me show fear.” The last thing they need is a fearful priest. I was talking with a fellow pastor last week about pastor’s salaries. I told him point blank, no church can pay me enough to do weddings. I am not really kidding but there are other situations that no one in their right mind would envy a pastor. Most people avoid these kinds of situations but pastor’s can’t. I will preach for nothing but some of these other things are not so pleasant. No responsible pastor who loves his flock and suffers with them is over paid. You can’t possibly understand what I just said unless you have been a pastor. I understand that you can’t understand. It is impossible for me to know what being a mother is like, or a senator, or a brain surgeon.
My blogs are not getting out. I did one every day this week except today or maybe yesterday. I am going to try again but I am in the house and this computer may be the problem. Joyce Dotson told me she reads my blog first thing and there had not been one since the 20th. I have been posting but she is right, none have made it out since the 20th. Here we go again. I am not even going to proof it because I don’t think this one will post either.
What do you know, it worked!