“Don’t worry about the people who aren’t happy for you. They probably aren’t happy for themselves either.” (Anon)

In Exodus 18:14-18, the narrative records that Moses needs to delegate some of his pastoral work. And for the delegates to be effective in the work, God anointed them with the Holy Spirit, as he had done with Moses (Numbers 11:25).

The consequence of this anointing was that all the delegates started to prophesy, although only two continued to prophesy after the initial anointing. But rather than be delighted that God was raising up more people to lead and to pastor with the anointing and the gift of prophecy, the text says that Joshua wanted Moses to stop them (Numbers 11:28). Now, Moses attributed this attempted intervention by Joshua to some jealousy on behalf of Moses.  A kind of naïve loyalty. And while this is no doubt true, I would not be surprised to find out someday that there may have been some jealousy in Joshua too, due to his quite exclusive relationship with Moses and his profile as a leader in the camp was now being shared with others.  Call it a therapist’s hunch. Joshua was of course not perfect.

However, beyond the speculation, here is the point.  The Holy Spirit wants to multiply the amount of people under his anointing. And we have to honour the anointing on those around us and make space for people to grow without insecurity or jealousy.  When others win, we all win.

Let’s never be a people who don’t celebrate the success in ministry of those around us. In fact, let’s pray to have the desire to see others excel beyond what we could do, even if it is in a context of a local church that we see as being ‘our thing.’

Dave Akerman