There is a formation and movement technique in armor tactics that is called the “bounding overwatch.” This is a maneuver that is used when contact with the enemy is certain. It is the slowest method of advance as speed is sacrificed for security. In a tank platoon, there are four tanks and in the bounding overwatch, two of the tanks watch over the other two tanks while the watched over tanks move from one location to another. Then the originally moving tanks set and the originally over watching tanks move and the roles are reversed.
“And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch” Mark 14: 32-34.
Jesus was about to die. He was about to die and He knew it. He went to this place of solitude to seek the Father and He invited these guys. Jesus was seeking the comfort and counsel of the Father and He valued and asked for the comfort and company of these guys, as well. Jesus was asking these three guys to pastor Him in a time when He was “greatly distressed and troubled.”
- We all need a pastor sometimes
- We are all called to pastor others at other times
- Pastor is a verb, not a title
We all need overwatch in times when contact with the enemy is certain. Pastors need pastors and everyone that needs to be pastored needs to grow comfortable in their calling as a pastor. Peter was a fisherman, not a Seminarian. Peter had never been to school or worked on a church staff and neither had the others. Yet, the Lord put them in place as His pastors for this time of sorrow on the eve of His death.
The only possible way to avoid the need for overwatch is to avoid contact and refuse to advance. For those that choose that option (and many do), enemy contact isn’t particularly necessary as they are irrelevant to the battle. The safety of stagnation preserves comfort at the cost of the soul. We are designed for agreement and cooperation in the advance. Staying behind kills the thing within us that is designed for passion, contact, overwatch, advance and purpose.
Overwatch is necessary on the battlefield, not at the logistical supply point. The church building is the place we come to be encouraged, equipped and sent back out to the battle. If we hang out exclusively at the logistical supply point, we don’t need to worry about contact and eventually we die on the inside. We need to get in the fight and without us in the fight, there is a part of the team out there without overwatch.