Thursday, August 20, 2009
Too Many Chiefs
I have been stewing over how to present this message - that there is an excessive tendency in the Church to promote "chiefs" with official ministry titles, according to their gifting. "Too many chiefs. Not enough Indians." This leads to spiritual pride and a tendency toward "Watch me now, watch me". I am reminded of the little girl getting her legs on the new two-wheeler bicycle, and seeking encouragement and applause from the family audience. I might get into the listing of spiritual gifts contained in Romans 12 and in First Corinthians 12. I might allude to the ministry inventories which I have seen pastors take up with their flock. "Where might you be gifted? How might the church call upon you? How should you develop this inner potential?"
But... the whole thing is not about self-actualization. It is about selfless service where needed in the life of the church family. And remember there is tremendous power vested by Christ in His Indians. (See the list for believers in Mark 16. See what humble yet miraculous service Ananias did for Paul in Acts 9.) I will turn the rest over to J.R. Miller. His devotional for today says it much better:
"The disciples’ ideas of position and rank were altogether earthly. They wrangled for places in the kingdom Christ was going to set up, very much as a company of modern politicians wrangle over spoils of office. Peter thought he ought to be prime minister, for he was the best speaker. Judas thought he would certainly be secretary of the treasury, which would give him a prominent place. John was Christ’s favourite, and felt sure he would be the greatest. Andrew had been first called, and claimed that this fact ought to give him the precedence. So they bickered.
So Christians sometimes do to-day. They want official places in the Church, — want to be elders, deacons, or trustees; or want positions in the Sunday school, as superintendents, teachers, secretaries, or librarians; or want to be presidents or vice-presidents, or something else of missionary societies, or mite societies, or Dorcas societies, or of some other organizations; or want to be pastors of popular city churches. It is the same old spirit, — the idea that the way to be a great Christian is to be prominent in some official position, to have honour and power among men. It is a shame to see such scrambling in the Church of Christ, but sometimes we see it; perhaps we sometimes scramble ourselves."
(For August 20th in Come Ye Apart)