"AT THE FRONT OR AT THE BASE"
 
In 1 Sam. 30 we learn that the Amalekites had destroyed Ziklag and had taken all the people captive that belonged to David and his men. David asked God whether or not he should pursue them and the answer was yes and God tells him that he will recover all that was taken. David and his 600 men begin to chase down the Amalekites and they came across an Egyptian slave that was left behind because he was sick. David makes a deal with him and this Egyptian shows him were the Amalekites are. Now 200 of his men were tired and so they stayed behind with the supplies and the other 400 continued forward and they defeated the Amalekites and recovered all their people and a substantial amount of supplies. Now letís pick up in verse 21
 
1 Samuel 30:21 Now David came to the two hundred men who had been so weary that they could not follow David, whom they also had made to stay at the Brook Besor. So they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him. And when David came near the people, he greeted them.22 Then all the wicked and worthless men of those who went with David answered and said, "Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except for every man's wife and children, that they may lead them away and depart."23 But David said, "My brethren, you shall not do so with what the LORD has given us, who has preserved us and delivered into our hand the troop that came against us.24 "For who will heed you in this matter? But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike."25 So it was, from that day forward; he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day. 
 

The main thing I want to focus in on for our lesson is the statue that David made in verse 24 But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike."

 

David understood that those that stayed at the base were just as important as those that were on the front line. When you think about, there are some similarities between David's statute and how we serve in the Lordís kingdom today because we are engaged in battle as well, but our battle is a spiritual one as Paul said in,

 

Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

 

In this lesson, I will be pointing out some of these similarities beginning with the idea that Godís army requires two forms of service just the military does. Any military battle depends on both the support troops and the Battle forces. Most planned battles revolve around how they plan to support those at the front line because military leaders learned long ago that "Men won't fight on an empty stomach" and "Men won't march without shoes".

 

 

Many battles have been won by the efficiency of the support forces keeping up with those on the front lines. This was one reason why Eisenhower was such a great general and why he considered a logistical genius.

 

The same is true when it comes to Godís army and the battles we face. There are those that are on the front line proclaiming Godís truth and then there are those that are supporting those on the front line. Let me give you a couple examples of what I am talking about.

 

Luke 8:1 Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him,2 and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities -- Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons,3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.

 

Jesus was out preaching the about kingdom, fighting the good fight of faith and there were many that were supporting Jesus from their wealth. In the case of Paul, he was supported by churches 2 Cor. 11:8-9 and he was also supported by individuals such as Gaius in Rom. 16:23. So, to effectively carry out Godís battle there must be preachers/ teachers and supporters.

 

To show the importance of those that preach and teach Paul said,

 

Romans 10:13 For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!"

Godís army requires both those who are willing to serve at the front and those who are willing to serve at the base. Is one service more important than another? The answer would be no because both services are equally important. ††

 

This is certainly true when it come to physical warfare. Some might think the men on the front are the "most important" While we cannot discount their importance, battles have been won or lost based on ability of the base to supply support to those of the front line.

 

This is just as true in the body of Christ. For instance Paul said,

 

Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

 

Notice we donít all have the same function, but our spiritual growth depends on each member doing their part as Paul says in,

Ephesians 4:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head -- Christ --16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

 

Paul also talks about this 1 Cor. 12 where he talks about how each member is vitally important to body and how there is no part that can claim that they are not important.

 

1 Corinthians 12:20- But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.

 

Failure to realize this truth can be disastrous. It can leave many brethren disappointed, apathetic, and fruitless! If we are not careful, we can over-emphasize one work and end up neglecting other important works. 
 
For instance, if we stress the importance of evangelism, but neglect the importance of edification, encouragement and benevolence to name a few, we are not being efficient. In fact, when you stress one work over another, some will force themselves to get involved in work that may not work for them. Because there is so much stress to take up that one work it can cause that person to be discouraged and disappointed. 

Trying to stress one work over another can actually hinder the spreading of the Gospel. Itís important that we realize that not everyone can do the same work. Those who are offering up support and encouragement to those who evangelizing, need to understand that there support and encouragement is absolutely vital to the growth of the church.
 
When we understand that the service we provide is equally important to the other services that are done, we will never despise or be jealous about what service others are doing. The most important thing that we can do is just to find what we fit in and get busy for the Lord, which brings us to our next point. 
 
Whether you are in the front or at the base, both services demand the same goal, sacrifice, and zeal. 
 
In the case of David and his men, the men "at the base" weren't there because they were lazy or scared. Even though they were exhausted, they were just as motivated as those who continued forward because their families had been kidnapped, too! Someone had to stay with the supplies, or the rest of the force might not have caught up with the enemy. 
 
Staying behind certainly wasnít an easy thing for them to do because their family was out there somewhere in the hands of the enemy! With the same goal, sacrifice, and zeal as those who pursued the enemy, they did their job of guarding the supplies!
 
This is the same attitude that every Christian solider should have today. We should all have the same goal, sacrifice, and zeal when it comes to serving in the Lordís army. 
 
Peter tells us what our goal should be in,
 
1 Peter 4:10 ††As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever.
 
So our goal should be to glorify God is whatever we do. IF we are preacher or teacher we should do it to the best of our ability. If we are encouraging others, again we should give our best. If we are supporting a work financially, we should give our best to the glory of God. 
 
Paul tells us what kind of sacrifice we should be willing to give in,
 
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 
 
You see God wants us to get to the point in our lives where we are willing to put Him first and use our talents to the further His kingdom. But we have to be willing to stop being worldly. Serving God is not always easy do because sometimes it means that we have to put God before our hobbies. 
 
This is real problem for some because some struggle with giving their time and money to God when they think it would be more fun to play golf, fish or be involved in some other activity. While there is nothing wrong with having a hobby it can become wrong if you allow it to come between you and God. If it does, you should seriously considered getting rid of that hobby because nothing on this earth is worth keeping you from serving your God as you should. 
 
Some believe that preachers and elders should be willing to sacrifice more than others. But this idea is not consistent with what we are learning in this lesson. Instead, we have learned that all of us should have the same willingness to sacrifice if the need is there?
 
If those at the base sacrificed as much as they expected those who are "at the front", would there not be more good things being done?
†††† 
 
When it comes to serving the Lord we should do so with zeal. Whatever our ability, whatever our service, God gives us the strength to do it. For instance in regards to those who minister Peter said, 
 
1 Peter 4:11 If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies,
We should never take for granted what God has given us and whatever talent He has blessed you with, you should pursue it with zeal because God will be able to many wonderful things through you. Again, it doesnít matter what service you are providing, but it does matter how you do your service. We should take the advice of,
 
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
 
 
Finally, I want to point out that both services receives the same reward. Back in story in 1 Sam. 30 we saw how David made a new law that all of them those who fought the battle and those who guarded the supplies would share the reward. 
 
This same principle is taught in the NT as well in,
 
Matthew 10:41 "He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.42 "And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward."
 
In fact Paul said, 
 
Colossians 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
 
This teaches us that no matter what service we render, if we do it with our might, we will receive our reward in heaven. 
 
In conclusion, we have leaned that that it doesnít matter if you are serving in the front or at the base, the work that is done is equally important. We have learned that no matter what you do, we must all have the same goal, sacrifice and zeal. When we serve this way the Bible promises that we will all receive our reward in heaven.
 
So, wherever we serve in the Lord's "army", whether "At The Front Or At The Base", let us do it as good stewards and with great zeal!
 
Speaking of the Lord's "army", have you been "enlisted" it yet? Plan of salvation. (This sermon was adapted from Mark C.)