Nothing gets my dander up like an injustice to God’s people… especially if they’re my people. This is a thought that weighs heavy on my mind for more than a few reasons. You don’t have to look very far to find injustice in the world, and probably one of the craziest (in my opinion) is that of little league sports. It’s what prompted this blog, but this in actuality has very little to do with Little League ball. Mainly because little league ball “seldom” has anything to do with the state of one’s eternal destination. Although it could with the right coach! That being said, the coach that has my knickers in a knot isn’t really concerned with eternity, unless of course he thinks that God has a special place for league winners. Pretty sure He doesn’t, just saying.
But I’ve seen more than my fair share of little league coaches who act like the world is coming to an end because a 4th grade boy, who was afraid of being nailed by the ball of an inexperienced pitcher, wouldn’t “step in and take one for the team.” Or a dozen other scenarios that he was sure ruined his chances as a major league coach. Coaches who don’t understand why a child with ADHD can’t sit still on the bench after his meds have worn off from having to sit still in his classes for 7 hours of the day. Oh… yes… I’m that grandparent, or Noni as the case may be.
But I’m also that Christian. I could just as well liken the little league attitude to that of the church. Where many don’t understand the people any more than a little league, major league wanna-be coach. As I travel I’m afforded the opportunity to meet many wonderful church workers. At almost every location I see heartache and frustration from the top down. I see preachers who want with all their heart to serve God without the encumbrance of church politics but cannot. I see Sunday School teachers who want their students to understand how exciting it is to know God, but are worn out bfrom having to collect and provide their own materials because the church doesn’t see their program as being worthy of a few extra dollars. I see parishioners struggling with broken lives and no one knows. Not because the evidence of these issues weren’t there, but because nobody slowed down long enough to see it or because they were missing two essential characteristics of a successful leader. Spiritual eyes and ears.
Leadership is more than a title. It’s a role. And it’s more than acting. It’s real.
So what will God say to the leaders when we stand before Him? Will He say or ask:
- Why didn’t you save more money for the church treasury and spend less on your departments? You didn’t know that Jesus wouldn’t wait another 20 years to come back.
- Why didn’t you tell that Sunday School teacher to suck it up use the same materials as last quarter?
- Why didn’t you remind that preacher who it is that pays his salary before the topic of your sin came up?
- Why didn’t you remind that widow about the woman with two mites before she complains that she doesn’t have grocery money for her visiting children?
- Why didn’t you tell that leader that’s hitting the altar every week to watch the clock a little closer or better still, just don’t go because it makes others feel guilty?
- Even better, why didn’t you stop having altar calls so everyone can get home in time for lunch?
- Why didn’t you tell the people in your church to stop stressing you out with their problems?
- Better yet, why didn’t you insist that everyone wear smiles, and no one can be sad?
- Why did you get the congregation so excited, someone could have had a heart attack?!
All of those are as ridiculous as expecting little league players to be major league stars. And yet they’re real life stories.
In the book of Acts, where the acts of the church of that day are written, I see that they didn’t understand Paul either. So I guess the aforementioned attitudes shouldn’t surprise me.
Acts:14:9-11 ~ The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked. And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, the gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.
A few things that caught my attention in those few verses:
- Paul was loud
- Someone was moved
- They were giving the credit of the power of God, to the gods that the people worshiped during that day.
So what should have happened? Do you think when Paul made it to Heaven, after having his head cut off for Jesus, that God said to him, “Paul, why were you so loud? You upset people.”
I know… that’s taking it out of context a little. The people weren’t as much upset as they were confused. But I don’t think God is going to call me on the carpet for reminding the church that we need to be careful about making our services about us. Paul was obedient and observant of the needs of one man, and not long about straightening the people out on who was responsible.
We serve a risen Savior, who died so that we might serve men and show them the love of Christ. Sometimes, we’re not even on the same field when it comes to understanding our teammates.
- Serve boldly (yet humbly)
- Show mercy always (look and listen)
- Send missionaries with money (provide what’s needed for every mission)
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