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Click here to read Genesis 4 on BibleGateway.com

supportpBack in the Middle Ages, around 1960 or so, America was a deeply divided nation. Brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend.  There were fights on the streets, and some people look back on that time with a sense of shame and pain.  We’re talking, of course, about the division between those who loved the Beatles and the fans of the Rolling Stones.  Not quite as bitter as the Backstreet/n’Sync Wars of later years, but a horror to behold none the less. And then you throw the Monkees in there and the whole world is up in arms, or perhaps in actors paid to look like arms.

In Genesis 4, we read of another division in society:  three brothers, all with different talents. Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock; Jubal; he was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes; and Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron.” Can you imagine the competition around the Christmas dinner?


It’s much like the church of today. You have the majority (Jabal), the 9-5ers who live their lives, support the church, love their neighbors (most of the time), and rarely get any attention. You have the youth ministers and the worship leaders (Jubal), those who use the tools of entertainment to (hopefully) bring the congregation closer to God.  And you have the iron workers (Tubal-Cain), those who utilize the weapons of the time on the front lines: the missionaries, evangelists, and some pastors (though not all, unfortunately).

Like any societal group, too often only those on the front lines get the recognition.  Admittedly, those in the front lines carry the greatest risk, they tend to suffer the most, and they tend to be the most lonely, so  maybe it’s alright that they get a larger share of the glory. However, as any soldier  will tell, they depend on those back home.  You need the support of the families, you need the citizenry behind the military, you need the support staff back at HQ, you need the intelligence work, the construction, the IT, the infrastructure, and a host of others.  You can’t do your best on your own.


Here’s the thing; all people can find themselves in one of these groups.  Not all of us were called to be musicians (and frankly, not all who think they are – are), just as not all were called to be soldiers.  Some were called to encourage those at home, some were called to support those out on the edge.  The point is, we can all be used where we are if we allow God to use us, and accept the role that we are in (and don’t worry, you’ll probably find yourself in all of these roles at one time or another).  The struggle is to avoid focusing on another, and to remain faithful to where you are now.

The greatest benefit we can give our church is to love and accept everyone else’s place, regardless of the position you find yourself in at the moment. If you’re on the edge right now, be careful of looking down on those who are support you.  If you are supporting, be careful of exalting those on the lines or resenting their accolades.  In the end, we all have a common enemy and the same commander.  It’s his plan that is at work; we are merely to do our duty and trust.

That’s how an army works.

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