In January of 1818 an author by the name of Mary Shelley published a book under the title of The Modern Prometheus that would go on to create and define a whole new literature genre, science fiction. This classic novel follows the intertwined story between mad-creator and even madder creation as they fight each other to figure out life’s meaning and their own destiny. One of the most famous quotes from this work, that is often recognized by its retitling, “Frankenstein,” is when Dr. Frankenstein sees his creation come to life for the first time and exclaims, “It’s Alive!” Every May when the school year ends, and the summer is starting, I share the same sentiment as Dr. Frankenstein as the BYG summer calendar comes to life. Just like the “monster” in Shelley’s novel is made up of different components all working together, the BYG summer calendar is created by different portions of service, study opportunities, praise, evangelism, and events just for the students to have fun. So, when June hits and the pieces start working together to make a great summer of spiritual and personal growth I always think, “It’s Alive!”
Continuing this comparison, I’ve also come to the same realization that Dr. Frankenstein grapples with throughout the story; managing this monster can be a lot to handle on you own. Between the countless lessons to be taught, preparations to be made, and events to manage – the to-do list seems to only grow every day. This is where I’m blessed where the mad doctor wasn’t, the beautiful blessing that is “Summer Interns.” Right about the time when things really start to ramp up every year, two incredible people move into town to work alongside me in serving our families. It’s difficult for me to put into words just how much of a blessing it has already been having this year’s interns, Weston Stone and Courtney Starling. Even with the peculiarity of this year’s summer and social distancing protocols, they have already provided excellent help in engaging our students and planning/creating events. Their presence in the past few weeks have reminded of times in the Word when having help was not only important to achieving the goal at hand, but also imperative.
Moses is one Bible character who was familiar with the blessing of having help in times of need. We see this from the beginning of his relationship with God in Exodus 4 when God is convincing Moses that he is capable of being the leader that Israel needs. It is only after God mentions Aaron as a helper that Moses seems satisfied with his abilities to go to Pharaoh on behalf of Israel. Later on, after Israel has fled Egypt and is well on their journey, they run into their first enemy combatant, the Amalekites. Perhaps knowing he might need assistance; we see in Exodus 17:8-10 both Aaron and Hur accompany Moses to his vantage point for the ensuing battle. It is at this moment that we see a beautiful picture of teamwork, “So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus, his hands were steady until the sun set. So, Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.” Exodus 17:11-13.
Even with all of this context, Moses still overlooks a crucial need in his life for some assistance with his leadership as a judge over the people. It isn’t until his father-in-law, Jethro, points out the danger in leading in this way that Moses realizes the error he has inadvertently made. Exodus 18:17-18, “Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you are doing is not good. You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.” Jethro then goes on to provide direct advice in verses 21-22 of the same chapter, “Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. Let them judge the people at all times; and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So, it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you.”
It is undeniable that in nearly every situation, it is crucial to have support from others, in order to be successful. Then why do we so often try to live our spiritual life and achieve our spiritual goals by ourselves? When we as Christians ignore the blatant need for assistance in our spiritual walks, we will end up like Dr. Frankenstein and become overwhelmed with the decisions we have made. Today (and every day this summer), I am truly grateful for the team I get to work alongside – Weston and Courtney (Ecc 4:19), but every day of my life I am tremendously blessed to know I never walk alone – Matthew 11:28-30.