How to Make a Mess of Things Without Really Trying
- Tuesday, June 28, 2005
"The thing that thou doest is not good." (Exodus, 18:17)
"There arose a murmuring ... widows were neglected in the daily ministration." (Acts 6:1)
The minister can be his own worst enemy. Although his intentions might be good, he actually can hinder the work of God, hurt his family, and harm himself. How? He can do it by allowing a ministry to become more important than the ministry-allowing a Christian school, a mission, a camp, a board, or any ministry to become more important than "prayer and ... the ministry of the Word"-the ministry.
There are two great examples of this fact. One is in the Old Testament. The other is in the New Testament. In the Old Testament account (Exodus 18:3-27) we learn that Moses was about to burn out. His nerves were shot. He was trying to administer the affairs of two million five hundred thousand people all by himself. And he would have continued until he dropped dead if his father-in-law Jethro had not said something.
Many ministers confronted with a similar situation would be likely to have one of these responses: "No one tells me what to do! I am the pastor-right or wrong" (dictator's response); "Well, someone has to do it" (martyr's response); "I don't have anyone to help" (whiner's response); "I'll just do it myself rather than bother someone else with the problem" (the pseudo-Barnabas response); "At least if I do it myself, I know it will be done right" (perfectionist's response); or "I'd rather just do it than to listen to someone else complain about having to do it" (the easy-way-out response).
It was not true that there were no others to help Moses. In fact, the remedy involved judges over a thousand, over a hundred, over fifty, and even over ten. Literally tens of thousands of ready, willing, and able ministers were being kept from ministry by the naively monopolistic actions and attitudes of Moses.
If there are no workers in your church to take the ministries that you want to add, then have you considered that it might not be God's will for you to start a particular ministry at this time? Where God guides, He provides-right? If there are no workers, then don't just do it yourself. Do not get ahead of the Lord. He will not follow you. If it is God's will, there will be workers (Acts 13:1, 2). You do want God's will to be done, don't you?
Your priority must be the ministry-not a ministry. Even Jethro knew that! "Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do" (Exodus 18:19, 20).
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