Complaints in the Wilderness Chart

This chart lists the complaints of Israel before and after Mt. Sinai as they journeyed from Egypt to the Promised Land. The images are displayed at different sizes but should download to the same size. Use freely but please keep the attribution.

PDF Version of the Chart

20 Seeds of Leadership by Steve Wilsher

Presented to the men at the Camp House study on how to lead at work, in your family, and in spiritual roles. Steve departed this earth in April 2022 but his wisdom, example, and abundance of good deeds will continue to live in those who knew him, especially me.

  1. Get serious with God’s word, 2 Tim 2:15.
  2. Reject the culture in all its insidious forms: live by faith.  Turn off TV.
  3. Learn your weaknesses (you know your strengths already).
  4. Become an “every event man” for any duty, any teaching, any need, any rebuke, any time.  Learn to “lean forward” and always be ready to help, act, support or lead.
  5. Get to know everybody in the church….work hard at this.
  6. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.  Never quit.
  7. Developing sound judgment:
    • Learn how to make a biblical/scriptural argument based on your study
    • Admit that you may misunderstand (be ready to rethink your position)
    • James 1:19: Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath
    • Never hear one side of anything
    • Learn how to keep secrets, James 5:16
    • Learn how to give anyone a spiritual pep talk (do it all the time)
    • Never show anger. ( James 1:20: always gentle, kind, compassionate, calm)
    • Don’t get too argumentative or divisive, Titus 3:9.
    • Learn how to apply Bible authority.
    • Let Bible authority answer the touchy, explosive, or politically unpopular positions of Jesus’ law.  It is Jesus, not you speaking.  He may not sound right in today’s culture, but he is eternally right.  I will stand with him.
    • Don’t be politically right or left. Jesus was both.  Jesus was correct.  Be like Jesus.
    • Faith can be demonstrated. Step out on faith.
  8. Develop a good attitude toward society (especially a wicked society), Titus 3:1-2
    • Subject to rulers, obedient, ready, speak evil of no one, peaceable, gentle, and humble.  Gets along with everybody, be personable.
  9. Learn how to analyze positions and understand the other person.  Then teach and encourage.
  10. Learn to pray all the time.  Then act.
  11. Prepare how you will react to:
    • Crisis
    • Error being taught (Decide what is an opinion and what is doctrine)
    • Unsettling events
    • Worldliness among the saints
  12. Lead your family. Do not delegate leadership to your spouse.
  13. Make sure that decisions have plenty of time for you to stew/chew on them before you open your mouth and explain your understanding of God’s word.  Think, meditate, study, pray.  Wait a while.  Then speak.
  14. Learn to say no.  Don’t capitulate later.
  15. If you promise punishment, do it.
  16. If you are prone to anger, wrath, or shooting off your mouth then learn to publicly repent.
  17. Never generalize.  Speak in specifics only.  Never say “you always…”
  18. If anyone knows of your sin, repent publicly.  It will make you a better man.
  19. When there is a really hard task, you go first.  Just step forward and volunteer.
  20. When the task looks impossible, Matt 21:21-22:  pray, then plan, then start moving the mountain.  Show faith.  God will help you.

Summary:  Learn to say less.  Say it gently.  Keep many secrets.  Encourage with every breath.  Rebuke when necessary.  Be first at doing the hard tasks.  Love your wife openly.  Love your kids to heaven.  Care for everyone.  Live in the world, but not of the world.  Be a man.

3 Reasons God Wants His Children to Work

God created humans to work

God set an example of diligence and work in the act of creation, Genesis 2:1-3. The text says “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done.” In creating the world He mad humans to work.

Genesis 2:5 notes that there was no man to work the ground. In verse 15 man was created and given work in the Garden of Eden. When the first couple sinned and were sent out of the Garden they still had to work but it would be more challenging.

The Sabbath

Under the Old Law, the Jewish nation was commanded to observe the seventh, or sabbath, day. The sabbath was a reward for work and a time to honor God, Exodus 20:8-11. Exodus 23:12-13 describes it as a time of refreshing. After the release from Egyptian bondage it was to be a time of rest and remembrance of their freedom from slavery. God did not intend for us to work all of the time but to take rest as well.

Purpose of work

Provide for our needs

  • Proverbs 12:11 and 14: Work of a man benefits him
  • Proverbs 16:26 – Our hunger is motivation
  • Proverbs 28:19 – “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.”

The worthy woman highly praised in Proverbs 31 is a diligent hard worker:

  • V.13 – works with wool and flax
  • V. 14-15 – works to find and prepare food for her family
  • V. 16 – invests in a field to make a vineyard
  • V. 18 – works late and has pride in her work
  • V. 19 – making garments for her family and to sell (v. 24)
  • V. 27 – she does not eat the bread of idleness
  • She is praised by her husband, children, the Lord, and those who see her for her faith and works

Be generous to others

Part of the reason we work is so we can have something to give to those in need. The worthy woman just discussed was generous to the needy, Proverbs 31:20. In the Old Testament farmers were commanded to leave the edges and anything that was dropped for the poor to come gather (the gleanings).

In the New Testament our work is tied to generosity. Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:28 to not steal but work to give to others in need. Notice he commands them not to take anything from anyone but to work to provide for one’s needs and to have something to share with the needy. He also commanded the materially rich to be rich in good works and generous, 1 Timothy 6:17-19.

We see examples of the early church in sharing what they had to help their needy brethren in Acts 4:32-37. During the Judean famine Paul observed that even those in poverty gave generously to help their Judean brethren, 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 11-15. They let their abundance supply what their brethren lacked.

To honor God with our possessions

There was an important principle in the Old Law: The firstfruits and tithes, Deuteronomy 26:1-19. The law commanded that the first and the best was to be offered to God. This was a great act of faith for it is trust that God would continue to bless their harvest and herds.

The gift was to provide for those who are in need or who are dedicated in service to the Lord’s temple. The giving action was to be done with the complete heart and soul recognizing God as the giver of all things.

Proverbs 3:9-10: “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce;then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”

Under the New Testament we are not commanded to tithe but are to bring freewill offerings and to be generous with what we have been given. Previously we noted how God wants us to be generous with what He has given us. As the offerings paid the expenses for the upkeep of the tabernacle, and later temple, and met the physical needs of the priests dedicated to its service, so our offerings today help us to maintain a place of worship, provide financial support for those dedicated to preaching the gospel, purchasing materials for our Bible classes, and helping our brethren in a time of need.

Foolishly and Boldly Judging Your Brethren Worldwide

Before you post so confidently about what other Christians are (or are not) doing, remember these important facts:

  1. Your actual deep (detailed) exposure to Christians worldwide is limited geographically. Before you write and talk about how “all” Christians or churches are, think about how many different churches you really have deep experience with and the number of Christians about which you have an intimate knowledge of their private service, devotion, and convictions. If you have been a member of a few churches in similar areas and have many Christian acquaintances and few close brethren, consider that your sample size is too small to extrapolate about Christians and churches worldwide (technically it is narrow and statistically insignificant). If you have visited many churches in many places, understand that one or a few visits is too little exposure to really know those churches and those Christians.
  2. If a Christian is following Jesus’ principles, they are not sharing every good deed of evangelism, service to the marginalized, and service to brethren on Facebook or even talking about it at church (sometimes not within their family) because they are not “letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing” as our Lord taught. So you may be condemning the humble who are just busy about good works and being quiet about it. (“[But] aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)
  3. You may be projecting on others what you are failing to do yourself. The speck in their eye is not the biggest problem that you should be addressing.
  4. The average Christian is not a professional counselor with unlimited resources and excessive discretionary time to serve every need. Some do nothing, some do the best they can with the situations they encounter, some wear themselves out in service. I think every sincere Christian wants to do more and those that don’t “get it” don’t want to be bothered and will answer for it.
  5. How can people proudly proclaim that Christians are humans imperfectly struggling to be more like Christ then condemn Christians for imperfections that reflect that we are not yet what we strive to be? I have failed to serve, failed when I tried to serve, and failed to serve enough. But I’m getting better and I’m learning. I think others are as well.

Your brethren need grace and the benefit of the doubt that you don’t know all the struggles they are facing within and without and what they are doing without telling you. Better to focus on your relationship with God, being what you should be in service to God, helping your local fellowship reflect God’s glory in teaching and service, and praying that other Christians in other places are doing the same.

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