Hello everyone. Our lesson today is taken from 1 Samuel 14:1-14. Jonathan and his armor bearer defeat the Philistine garrison of 20 men in this account. For our study on cooperation today, I particular want to focus on the matters involving the armor bearer.
- Jonathan sought the armor bearer’s cooperation. Many leaders simply announce what they plan to do with request, persuasion or explanation of why they chose it. Then they become irritated or despondent if they do not get cooperation. God touches on this principle of seeking the cooperation of people when he says that elders are not to be “lords over God’s heritage” (1 Pet. 5:3). Leaders who dictate may receive obedience, but little cooperation.
- Jonathan gave the armor bearer an explanation of why he thought the project should be undertaken. The armor bearer knew they were at war with the Philistines. But why this particular battle? Because the Lord could deliver even in these circumstances. If we want people to be willing and devoted to a project or cause, they must have reason. Action without reason is mob action. Purpose and explanation gives direction and perseverance to a plan of action.
- Closely connected to the above, Jonathan did not tell the armor bearer that his skill in battle would give them victory. Rather, he turned the armor bearer’s confidence to the One who never fails. If we count on ourselves, we may accomplish much (Gen. 11:6), but it will not be good (Prov. 14:12; Jer. 10:23). But if we count on God, no one can be successful standing in our way (Rom. 8:31; Eph. 3:20).
- The armor bearer was willing to cooperate, “…I am with thee…” Don’t we wish that all activities planned to move the church forward received that kind of full cooperation. Do you give such cooperation. Even when you are not convinced an idea is worthwhile, do you give it you best cooperation for successful accomplishment.
- The armor bearer is never named. He is a supporting actor in this drama, but one without which the play would have failed. Many will not cooperate if they cannot be a star. Many stop cooperating if they do not receive continual praise and recognition. It certainly is good to give and receive recognition (Rom. 13:7), but it ought not to be a necessity for our cooperation.
I imagine you may realize other points about cooperation from this event. But it does teach us that together, we are more. Mike