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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Trading the Best for the Good

I have been gone for over a week. My daughter got married in Sonoma, CA and, of course, I attended the wedding and walked her down the aisle. It was majestic!

However, I got back in the office today to find hundreds of new emails. I am still trying to weed through all of them. The problem is that I believe that everyone is important. Every email is important to those who sent it. However, I can't read all these emails and get anything else done.

I really care about people. I don't want anyone to think I don't care. I believe that love needs to be shown rather than simply felt. I also know what I have been called to do. I am to present the gospel, preach the word and pastor my church. The things that fall outside of these essentials must be put on the back burner sometimes.

Isn't that true for all of us? Isn't it the good things that often keep us from the best? Don't we all need to sift through what we are doing to find what the best really is?

I love everyone and want everyone to know they are important. Yet, I have decided that I will not do all the wedding ceremonies at my church. I don't need to. They are not a part of the essentials. I will not visit everyday in the hospitals. I don't need to. It is not an essential. I will delegate to others. I will stop trying to control everything. I will give up that which keeps me from doing my best with the things God has given me to do.

That's what Moses had to do.

Exodus 18:14-23 (NIV) 14 When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, "What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?" 15 Moses answered him, "Because the people come to me to seek God's will. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God's decrees and laws." 17 Moses' father-in-law replied, "What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people's representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform. 21 But select capable men from all the people--men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain--and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied."


high-expressions said...

In short, we cannot do them all. That is also why life is expressed as a journey of choices.

We are finite in our resources, strength, attention and focus. Even though God is NOT, we are. Don't just because we are working for, and with God, we can think that we are no longer constrained. Extraordinary things we do, they are called extraordinary, because they are NOT ordinarily that way; well, some called these, miracles. Whether it is miracles or extraordinary feats, they are, by their nature, NOT something happening continuously or happening all the times. God can work at neck-breaking speed or pace or magnitude or impossibilities, but we are mortal, and so, there is only so much, that we can do, over-exertion can only be for a period of time, and then fatigue will set in, and something will give way. I believe in the power and miracles of God, and I consider myself a "minister" of such, but I also know full well that God knows what the mortality of men means. The "fatigue" that set in, for Elijah, God knew fully, and God acted accordingly; let Elijah, sleep and eat, and sleep and eat. So, no minister of God should be made to feel guilty for taking time off, for his reasonable recreation. In fact, we need it.

When we look at the life of Jesus, the Lord did NOT do anything and everything, so to speak; even when it is NOT a bad thing. For example, Jesus healed many, and healing is NOT a bad thing, but He did NOT minister healing to everyone in the Holy Land.

I am reminded of a sad incident in my church many years back, where a youth grew in the church, and entered into ministry, became a youth pastor, and advanced further to be a pastor covering the adults, and he handled demanding ministries like the inner healing and deliverance, etc. He was loved by the Senior Pastor, and I was told he was regarded like a son to the Senior Pastor, perhaps, in the like of Timothy, to the Apostle Paul. But a tragic thing happened, he worked too hard, and one day, in the wee hours of the morning, tired from ministering away from the church compound, he drove home, and on the way, he met with an accident and went to be with the Lord. He was young, and so left behind a young wife with a few kids. From that time on, the church increased the staff strength and got in, lay people and volunteers, and involved the church members to hold positions in ministries, to spread the load.

Jesus did NOT work alone, he formed a team of disciples; trained them or discipled them, so that they could help him to accomplish some of the work and volume. Yes, Jesus wanted to heal the sick, but He could NOT heal them all (Jesus only heal them all, “the all” who came to Him); He sent disciples out to do that, to help to heal the sick and to deliver the demonised. Of course, the disciples also taught or preached, what Jesus taught them.

The Disciples themselves, after the Lord left them (went back to the Father in Heaven), they worked together (and NOT worked alone), and they also appointed others (like the 7s, of which deacon Stephen was one), to take care some duties and tasks.

Even the Great Commission included the discipling of believers. One of the reasons is so that there would be many people doing the work.

What is the thing to learn from all of these? We need to disciple believers, so that the work can be shared; more can be accomplished that way; not only that, the overall quality can improve.


high-expressions said...

Cont. from above

Some of us have the notion that we have different, different persons doing this and that, because we have NOT the gifting or the anointing. But actually, it is NOT that God cannot give us, the anointing for this and the power for that, and so on, but it is that God knows, one or a few men cannot do all the work. Can I be here, in Singapore, and also be in USA at the same time? Can I minister in person to the sick in the hospital, and at the same time, am at the church baptising new believers in the baptismal pool of the church? I can't. Don't try doing everything yourself; even if you don't burn out; you will be fatigued out!

Of course, if you are a leader or a senior pastor, you do need to know what is going on. I mean a shepherd is responsible for the flock, a CEO, the company's well-being, a leader, the people you are leading. Overall control you must have; you are ultimately responsible for the actions of those within the group, but the way to go, is still NOT, you do everything personally (once a certain size is exceeded).

Each leader has to examine why he is NOT letting another to do a particular task which he himself is doing. There can be several reasons, some are acceptable, and some are NOT.

Of the UNacceptable ones, it included this, and I will NOT be surprised that many are guilty of this (if you are honest!): You worry that others outshine you. The correct attitude should be that we facilitate people to be the best they can be, for the Lord, even if it means the person out-beat us! The worldly ones say, when others can do your job, you will be redundant; but the way of the Kingdom of God is that you will be promoted. We are to follow the ways of the Kingdom, NOT the ways of the world.

Having said the above, it does NOT mean you can take the other extreme, and start insisting, this, you will NOT do, and that, you will NOT do, and that you only want to do what you like to do. For example, as the Senior Pastor of the church, you can be preaching over the pulpit, but you cannot insist that is the only thing you will do; you would NOT lead worship, even occasionally; you would NOT pray with the church in any corporate prayer sessions, or worst still, you do NOT want to pray for people with needs coming into your services. The point is that there are things that believers are to do, generally, and so, even you, as a leader, you are to do them. You are a role model for the flock.

You see, when you have delegated much away, it means it is NOT all the time, you have no time to do this or that. Sure, you cannot be praying for everyone, but if people can see, you are NOT occupied at all, but you would NOT pray for a sick; it is NOT right. I said before, on this blog comment section, that a senior pastor cannot keep avoiding joining others to pray for the sick, either in church or at the hospital, if he is to encourage the members to pray for the sick. The list can go on; another example, is that of calling for believers, to come together for corporate prayer; again as the leader, you cannot skip all of the sessions! The point is that although you do NOT need to be doing all of these things all the time, some of the time, you have to be doing them; I mean we cannot just talk only, and don't walk the talk. I am NOT promoting "show-face", that is NOT what I am suggesting; in fact, people can tell one's sincerity and whether one is genuine or NOT; on top of that, God is looking!


high-expressions said...

COnt. from above

Also, I believed I have talked about this one too, here, in one of the comments: There are particular calling for different individuals, and so, I may be doing more (and even can be with better results, too) for a particular facets of the things we, believers, are to do, compared with, say, pastor X, who may be doing a lot more of another facet, say, worship leading. But the important thing is that if we are wholesome in our perspective of what believers are to do, we will share in the enthusiasm of others’ ministry breakthroughs, achievements and successes.

One of the marks of a more matured believer is that he has a proper perspective of the collective contributions from various individual members of the body, as well as the individual facets of what the believers are to do. This means, what is “the good” for one, maybe “the best” for another; and likewise, “the best” for one, may only be “the good” for another. For example, for one, a worship pastor, preaching may only be a “good” for her/him, but preaching may be a/the “best” for another pastor or the Senior Pastor (and worship leading, a good only).

Good and best definition can also change over time. For example, ushering was once “the best” for me, when I was young Christian with my church, but it is now, “a good” for me. Now, “the best” for me, is to intercede for the Sunday church services before they begin. Another current “best”, is for me to minister/pray for the sick and those in need, rather than be an usher, keeping order in ministering times. Even so, do I NOT function as a usher, at all? No, I still do, and it happens when I defer to visiting speakers who have the anointing to minister; in such time, I turned usher, to facilitate and help in orderliness.

For Ps Prentis, it is a question of “trading” one for another (doing one over another, doing the best set over the good set). And, yes, Exodus 18:14-23, quoted by Ps Prentis is spot-on for guiding us in this whole subject of “We cannot do them all”. How about you? If you are NOT facing this “trading” one for another, are you at least working on a good works!?

Anthony Chia, high.expressions - All can serve, and should be facilitated to serve to the best they can be.