These people were former slaves. Most did not know how to work without a harsh taskmaster commanding their every move. Yet there was much work to be done if more than two million people were to get from Egypt to their Promised Land! Everyone would need to contribute their talents and strength. Many would have to learn new skills and develop abilities that they did not know they had.
God, through Jethro, told Moses how to organize the people for work so that they could help bear the burden of getting to the Promised Land. This is a powerful foreshadowing for the New Testament Christ-follower involved in present-day Church life! Let us now look more closely at this.
NURTURING NEW BELIEVERS
Just like the Israelites coming out of slavery, so were we when we first came to Christ. We were “slaves of sin” (Rom 6:17), living selfishly and in disobedience. Our whole outlook on life was worldly and selfish (Eph 2:1-3).
As church leaders, we should not be surprised or discouraged by the spiritual immaturity of “newborn babes” in Christ. They can be selfish, even acting foolishly at times. But it is our privilege and responsibility to give them the “pure milk of the Word” (1Pet 2:2). This “pure milk” is the basic Bible truth needed for healthy spiritual growth and maturity.
Some examples of basic, “pure milk” topics to teach New Believers include:
- Knowing God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit
- Baptisms – water and Holy Spirit
- Reading, understanding and obeying the Bible
- Praying every day and hearing God
- Repentance and forgiveness (saying “no” to sin in their life)
- Salvation by faith, not works
- Fellowship with other Christ-followers
EVERY BELIEVER’S GIFTS!
Teaching the new “babes” is important. But it is also important to give them tasks to do as part of the Body of Christ. Every person has an important role to fill if the Body is to grow and function in health (Eph 4:16). These roles can start with small things, and increase as the new believers mature and prove to be faithful in those small things (Luke 19:17).
The Apostle Paul makes it clear that the “work of ministry” (Eph 4:12) is to be done by ALL those who are part of the Church, not just a chosen few. Every Christ-follower has God-given gifts (Rom 12:4-8; 1Cor 12). God desires that these gifts be used for the edification (building up) of His Church! (1Cor 14:12)
A very important role of the church leader, pastor or elder is to help every believer identify their gifts and find a place to use their gifts in ministry. Not all believers are called to full-time ministry assignments. However, all disciples of Christ are meant to be ministering people. They can and should serve in some type of ministry to the Body of Christ and to the society around them.
EQUIPPING PEOPLE FOR WORK
Moses brought a group of lifelong slaves into sudden freedom. They were not accustomed to taking initiative, or working beyond the minimum requirements. Many had never had an opportunity to develop a skill or trade.