Posted: 3/6/18 at 11:50am. Column by Steve Zimmerman.
My wife and I are proud parents of twin daughters. Early in their teenage years they reacted to stress in different ways. One would cry at the drop of a hat; the other would keep her nerves bottled up inside, but if she started laughing about something insignificant, she would laugh hysterically—and the tears would follow. Both took care of their emotions but in very different ways.
We find the Old Testament prophet, Elijah, early on in 1 Kings 19 coming to terms with his emotions with God. You would think that the man who saw miraculous things take place at Mount Carmel in the previous chapter would be on Cloud Nine, but we find him running scared because of Jezebel. He has gone from being a spiritual rock star to a lowly coward!
Elijah is not alone with this emotional roller coaster ride. If we’re not careful, we as Sunday School leaders have to deal with these feelings toward God as well. One Sunday we have the best classroom experience, and the next Bible study seems to be anything but that! We go from joy to despair and disappointment very quickly.
Maybe we can learn a few pointers from the prophet’s encounter with God in this passage that might help us deal with our relationship to God in our roles as church leaders.
- Get your rest and replenish your body. Elijah was exhausted from his escape from the queen. God in his mercy gave him rest and fed him. How well are you in resting and taking care of your body? Many times there is direct correlation between a good Bible study and a healthy leader!
- God still has plans for you. Elijah told God that he was old enough to just die. He had done his share of working for God. He wanted a permanent retirement! Yet through the Father’s grace, he was reminded that God still is going to use him again. When everything looks bad, don’t let age or years of church service be a stopping point in serving God.
- There are others out there who are in your corner. At times it seems like the only one doing a great job in your class is you. But if you look really carefully at this passage, God reminds the prophet that there are still others who are doing good for the Kingdom. They may not be as well known as Elijah, but they are out there. When things look bad for you, remember to look outward and not always inward. You might be surprised who is cheering for you.
- Get up. Look up. Link up. God asked the same question twice, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” The first time it was a rebuke to the prophet. The second round was an admonition to get going: it is time to get back in the game. People still need to be taught. Others need to be reached with the gospel. Lives need to be transformed. It won’t happen if you don’t get up, look up to God for strength, and link up with others in the work of the Kingdom.
May God bless you and guide you as you continue to serve him.