Why would an elder monopolize the assembly

Why would an elder monopolize the assembly’s ministry and prayer?

This is a two-sided issue. Almost any overseer would prefer a more healthy condition in which he shares the weight of responsibility with others. He is likely concerned about one of two problems: either no one is willing to help or others’ help lacks spiritual character or Biblical soundness.

Part of the solution lies with the believers in the assembly. All service, worship, and prayer is for the Lord and His glory. Therefore, whatever the difficulties or sense of personal inadequacy, all believers (male or female) should prepare spiritually for the gatherings. Each male should seek the Lord’s help to contribute in a way that will honor the Lord. Private prayer where the only ear that evaluates is the Lord’s will help a brother to pray and worship publicly where the most important listening ear is the Lord’s.

A common goal for all believers is to increasingly contribute to the assembly words and thoughts that have a Scriptural truth and weight. The Lord faulted His people for bringing offerings that were merely convenient and lacking in value (Malachi 1:8). God expected their best from His people (Numbers 18:12).

Another part of the solution depends on the overseer in question. Unconsciously, he may make it difficult for others to take part by being overly exacting in his expectations or critical in his manner. In some way, he may have the Elijah syndrome: "I only am left" (1 Kings 19:10, 14). It is most gratifying that the Lord reserves for Himself some who are not as outstanding as Elijah and He accepts His children’s faulty expressions and limited thoughts of Himself. Where would any of us be if He accepted only perfection in us? In virtue of the glories of the Priest Who represents us, our God accepts our feeble offerings (Heb 9:24; 13:15). An overseer’s responsibility then is to work with the material God provides and to so nurture it that God receives increasing glory from it. Even if the increase seems very small, he continues to do what he can so the smoking flax is not quenched (Isaiah 42:3).

D. Oliver