Should we Shabbat with only those who are fully set apart?
It was recently presented to me, that in our local fellowship, we have people who have issues. Specifically, we had a brother who was struggling with alcohol, and another who is dabbles in Judaism, which naturally comes with Kabbalistic teachings. The brother who presented this to me also felt that he wanted to take a break from coming to Shabbat gatherings and didn’t want his family around these people and perhaps others. He also implied that this break from Shabbat might be something to consider long term, to stay away from people who might not be fully set-apart to Yahuah at this time.
When I heard this, I was a little taken aback and my immediate thoughts were in complete opposition to this line of thinking, yet I wanted to take time for prayer, study of the Word, and ultimately leaning on Yahuah for guidance as to how we move forward in the fellowship. This study/paper will be my response.
Who to spend Shabbat with?
Let’s start with who Messiah Yahusha spent time with on the Shabbat:
And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
Yahusha spent time around a man who needed help/healing. Should we were to restrict access to those who are wanting to walk in the way, yet are struggling with addiction, or anything really? These are believers who needs help/healing/deliverance. I believe Yahusha would let them come — if he wanted us to go into seclusion and only be around those totally set-apart, he would have taught us so. A little bit further in Matthew 12 (still during Shabbat) we see more evidence:
Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?
If we are called to walk as he walked, this is a great indicator of how we should also conduct ourselves.
And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Yahusha, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
Here Yahusha spends time with those with unbelief. Now, I’m not advocating that we let unbelievers in the Shabbat group, but certainly, we should highly consider allowing those that have faith and are new to the walk and have many issues to work on. Perhaps we should even still allow those who aren’t new and have lingering issues. Yahuah was/is patient, long suffering and merciful with us — why would we ever think that someone else isn’t worth that time and effort to be long suffering with them? After all, people who have faith and a desire to obey are our family, we can just give up and walk away from them because they aren’t as far along as we are.
Imagine you are a platoon sergeant and you’ve been given 50 men to lead. Let’s say 5 out of the 50 are screw ups and just don’t get it, but they want to. Do you:
a) Walk away thinking to yourself, they just aren’t at your level yet?
b) Realize you’ve been put in this position to train and prepare these men for battle and dig in?
I would hope everyone would reply with option b. How much the more would we dig in and fight for Yah’s people? If your mind is on you and your family alone, and not for the betterment of his people, leadership in this fellowship may not be the best idea.
And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
Having an attitude of not wanting to surround yourselves with those who aren’t as far along the path as you/we are, is a dangerous position to take in my opinion. It is my understanding that Yahuah has helped mold some men quicker than others to be a light and example for those who are struggling — even if they’ve been struggling for years. What if this whole thing is a training exercise? Would Yahuah entrust to us the greater battles and greater positions (144k) if we aren’t willing to prepare, train and refine those he’s put in our path right now? If all of heaven is watching — what would the angels say to Yah if we were to walk away from our assignments now, saying to ourselves, they just aren’t set-apart enough to Shabbat with? How do we know when someone is set-apart enough? Where do we draw the line? When did we become judges as to who is set-apart enough to fellowship with?
They say, ‘Keep to yourself; do not come near me, for I am holier than you!’ Such people are smoke in My nostrils, a fire that burns all day long.
While this may not be the thoughts or intentions of the original position posed — it can surely be perceived as such.
And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? And Yahusha answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Now, this isn’t Shabbat (that we know of) but the overarching point is, if Yahusha spent time with those who needed help, how could we justify only spending time on Shabbat with those who are set-apart enough for our standards?
And it was the sabbath day when Yahusha made the clay, and opened his eyes.
Here Yahusha is around a blind man so that he may heal him. Perhaps we should consider being around those who want to do what’s right, yet have blindness in part to their errors? Next is a passage in Acts 2, right after the great speech from Peter:
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart
3,000 were added in one day, praise Yah! Certainly, we can imagine out of those numbers, issues arose — people had to be dealt with. Perfect or not, Yahuah’s sheep are Yahuah’s sheep. If we are to be any sort of leader, we need to be good shepherds to his flock, that’s our responsibility, we don’t get an option to walk away and expect him to use us anymore in the future.
Being refined in this walk and then getting into leadership and expecting everyone to be at our level is likened to expecting our children to know what we know and act maturely like we do. The fact is, people need leadership, discipleship, and refinement. He got us quicker along this process to be ready to help others reach the same place, not to ditch those who have issues and do our own thing.
And the servant of Yahuah must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if Elohim peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
2 Timothy 2:24-26
If we are going to continue as leadership in this fellowship, we will be apt to teach (correct) and patient, never expecting people to be at a certain level of growth at anytime, as it is Yahuah who gives the increase. Yah has brought them to us and we are responsible for them. Think about that for a moment.
If this walk was likened to a race/marathon. What would Yahuah want from us? To be first across the finish line, or helping any who stumble or fall in the way, picking them up and helping them across the finish line? Considering the heart of Yahusha, I believe he’d want us doing the latter, and that’s what I’ll be focusing on as long as Yahuah has me leading this fellowship. Are you with me or not?
Dealing with Issues