It is good to reflect on what the scriptures teach us about accepting the challenges of daily life as God’s will, and understanding how to collectively utilise the gifts and talents God has given each of us, for his glory and the good of all.

Three useful principles are highlighted in the Book of Exodus, where we learn of a people uprooting themselves and willingly venturing out into the unknown because they trusted that this was what God wanted them to do.  These same principles could help us today, to reflect prayerfully on how we can contribute to collaborative ministry in our own communities.

  1. In Exodus 16, we read that it only took two months before the goodwill of the Israelites frayed, they grumbled, complained and even considered that returning to lives of slavery was preferable to hoping that God would lead them to the Promised Land. God understood the frailty of humanity and responded by sending them food from heaven, instructing them to share out the manna equitably so that everyone had what they needed.

Although grumbling is natural, it does debilitate and cause division. God is ever creative, continually ‘making all things new’ (Rev 21:5), but has also guaranteed to be with his Church ‘always’ (Mt 28:20). There is no need for anxiety about the future, this is God’s work not ours, so all shall be well. We can be sure that God will provide what we need to sustain us – although this may not be exactly what we wanted. In return, we can be active participants in a generous sharing of skills and resources that will benefit every person and every congregation, so that we become people whose glass is always half full – or like the psalmist ‘running over’.

  1. In Exodus 17, the chosen people come under attack and it is only when Moses raises his arms that the hostile forces are repelled. However, assistance is needed, from Aaron and Hur, to enable Moses to maintain this posture and save the people.

We are all part of the Body of Christ; therefore, God does not expect anyone to go it alone.  The Church grows and is fruitful when Christians really put their love for others into action by working collaboratively. In our journey through life, who has supported us, held us up when we were tired or feeling overwhelmed?  Who have we enabled and accompanied?  Ministering to others is a privilege, and one that opens us up to receive far more than we give. The instinct to both give and accept support is an intrinsic part of the Christian DNA, and with the Beatitudes as our ID card, we can find great joy and grace through helping others in Christ’s name.

  1. In Exodus 18, Jethro, wisely counsels his son-in-law Moses to share out the responsibilities of leadership so that these do not become an unmanageable burden. When Moses trains and then delegates ministries to a team of people, the work of God is secured.

Servant leadership was modelled by Christ, to teach us that sharing responsibility respects the common priesthood of all the baptised, each called and graced by God to build his Kingdom, now and in eternity.  An early image used of the Christian community was that of a choir, where each individual voice contributes to, but does not overwhelm others, to produce a wonderful harmonious melody.  With Christ as the conductor, all we need to do is follow his lead, sensitively listening to those around us, so that ministry does not become a burden, but is a shared enterprise and source of blessing.

At this time of Spring, when the earth blooms and days grow longer, we celebrate the wonderful Paschal season and remember that we are Easter people, called together to be joyful witnesses to Christ’s triumph over death and promise of new life, by faithfully witnessing to God’s love and presence in the world.

Marie Cooke

MDS Support Officer for The Presbytery of Glasgow