Share and share alike

King David is regarded as the greatest king that Israel ever had. He united the 12 tribes of Israel into one nation and established security against the hostile peoples surrounding them. Before he became king however he endured several long years as a fugitive from Saul his predecessor. During these years David gained experience as a military leader, and also as a leader of people, as he conducted raids on the enemies of Israel.

On one occasion the Amalekites attacked the town where David had his headquarters while he and his men were away on military manoeuvres. David and his men returned home to find that the town of Ziklag had been burnt to the ground and their wives and children, and all their possessions had been taken away into captivity. The whole company were devastated and wept aloud until they had no strength.

David rallied his 600 men and set off in pursuit of the Amalekite raiding party. Already weary from a long march 200 soon became too exhausted to continue the chase so they stayed and looked after the supplies and equipment while the 400 continued the chase. A 24 hour long battle ensued in which David and his men were victorious and they succeeded in rescuing their wives and children and all the goods that had been plundered.

On returning to Ziklag some malcontents started stirring up resentment against the 200 who had stayed behind. They wanted to keep all the plunder they had captured for the 400 who had fought, while the others would just be reunited with their families. No doubt amongst the 200 there were plenty who had reached the point of physical exhaustion, and some may have been injured making fighting impossible for them. But there may also have been a few who had simply lost heart or been lazy. Perhaps they doubted the success of the mission and preferred to stay behind, out of danger. Those who had fought felt justified that the men who had stayed behind were weak and feeble and so did not deserve to benefit from the efforts of the others.

David quashed this idea, declaring that “the share of the man who stayed with the supplies should be the same as the one who went into battle. All shall share alike.” He later established this as a principle for the entire nation for all military operations. David was keen to ensure that all members of the community enjoyed the benefits of the victory regardless of their capacity to take part. Values like this no doubt helped to bind the nation of Israel together under David’s kingship.

The modern civilised society that is the UK generates wealth that is the envy of many nations of the world. Yet living in the UK today are many people who are weak and vulnerable, people who are unemployed, sick, elderly or disabled. There are those who would portray some in these groups as spongers. There is a danger that if we listen to such voices, many in genuine need may be deprived of the help and support they urgently need. David’s principle of the weaker members of the community benefiting from the success of the strong is one we do well to copy.

This blog post featured in the October 2015 edition of Hook Focus

 

Why go to Westpoint?

Every year thousands from churches like ours head to Exeter for a long weekend in August. For 5 days we enjoy a packed programme, with activities for all ages. Why go to Westpoint? My top 10 reasons:

  • People who attend Westpoint join with thousands of others to worship God in joyful and exuberant praise – a foretaste of heaven!
  • Children and young people attend groups tailored to their ages, experience lively worship and great bible teaching. Each year dozens of them become followers of Christ and experience the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
  • It is an opportunity to hear great teaching from excellent bible teachers who bring expertise not available in the local church. As well as the main meetings and daily bible readings, there is also a seminar programme that addresses relevant issues that impact daily living as a believer.
  • It is the best opportunity for us as a church family to connect with other churches in our movement and get caught up in the bigger, worldwide vision of Commission.
  • It provides time for us to spend a few days away together building friendship and deepening relationships.
  • The festival zone includes a bookshop, craft stalls and exhibitors from various Christian organisations.
  • Want to learn a new skill or chill out? There are workshops, cinema showings, live music, quiz and comedy nights; whichever takes your fancy.
  • The weather is always fantastic! Well that may not be strictly true, but over the years it has mostly stayed dry and gathering together in our marquee during the showers helps us bond.
  • You can choose accommodation to suit your budget and style. Camping is cheapest, which most people opt for; caravanning is another way to stay on site, whether you bring your own or hire one. There are also plenty of guest houses and B&Bs nearby.
  • As a Commission church, going to Westpoint is what we do.

I am looking forward to our largest group yet attending in 2016. Please plan your year around Westpoint 2106 and put the dates in your diary now (25th – 29th August). Book now to get the early bird prices and spread your payments out over the year if you wish.

This blog post featured in the October 2015 edition of Lifelines