Open wide — how to make personal decisions or elect church leaders without being impulsive

I probably do this with my mouth, too.

Acts 1

I confess that I’m pretty impulsive when it comes to food.  My wife would agree that I’m a bit of a tightwad, but when it’s time to eat, my wallet opens up like this here hippo:

I probably do this with my mouth, too.

I probably do this with my mouth, too.

I think all of us have an impulsive streak within, especially when we get a confidence high. “Just put it on the credit card,” you might say.  Or, “that looks like fun; let’s go for it.” Consequences ignored, we are capable of running into a huge sinkhole of regret.

When it comes to the Christian life, Jesus never leaves you hanging.  But are you ignoring Him, or do you exercise restraint and patience?

No, that’s not what I meant, guys.

Jesus tests His understudies all the way up to heading back to heaven.  He asks the apostles to “wait for the gift my Father promised,” (v. 4) specifically the Holy Spirit.  But the disciples, through the filter of their selfish motives, mess up Jesus’ message.  In verse 6, they’re seen inquiring about when Jesus is looking to overthrow the government and establish His kingdom on earth.

I don’t think these early church leaders were confused at all.  It appears they’re dreaming of excess wealth and a huge army at their disposal, and not the grinding, selfless work they were fated to undergo.

Has the Lord given you specific instructions, and instead you look to the hills or sky for some supernatural act, or wait for a random check to appear in the mail? God did say wait, but that doesn’t necessarily mean becoming a hermit, or just chillaxing in the pews every Sunday. We have to be proactive seekers. But it also doesn’t mean investing in delusions of grandeur. It starts with your attitude.  Are you acting out of humility, or is your motive selfish?

And the winner is…

The selection of Matthias is an illustration of proper election of church leaders. Anyone in a leadership position, church or otherwise, should be very attentive to how it’s done in Acts. Again, we can be prone to impulse in this situation as well.

1)            Peter uses Scripture as backdrop to his decision-making (v. 15). Have you checked out the Word before

2)            The replacement is of one within the fellowship (v. 21).  While hiring staff for a church from abroad isn’t condemned in the Bible, familiarity among the rest of believers (Paul describes this as a man of good standing or above reproach) is most beneficial.

3)            As a unified body (v. 14), they seek God “constantly” and pick two candidates (v. 23). One guy doesn’t just interview some dude and bring him in. Other people are involved in the process.  It also takes some time, and there is more than one person considered to fill the position.

4)            Once the two guys are picked, they pray again (v. 24).  The narrowing and election happens after this vital step.  When someone is hired in a church, often times a resume or credentials are heavily considered instead of employing real prayer.

5)            They let God decide (v. 26).  In this instance, the decision is made using the casting of lots, or a random drawing of straws, in a way.  The method might differ today and between churches, but the decision must always be of the Lord.  The overseer of the church has to be in tune with God and discerning enough to make an informed selection.

It wouldn’t be surprising to discover, if enough research is done, that most churches in America have “gaps” filled by people that were not chosen by God, selected behind closed doors, hired as a stranger among their congregations, selected based on merit without any intercession, and picked using man’s means rather than God’s.

It’s also not surprising that many people outside of the church doors on Sunday turn their nose up at the structure of church today because this method is being employed, resulting in people in charge and behind the pulpit that really shouldn’t be there at all. Work in the church isn’t a job to be filled by qualified candidates similar to how a corporation might hire an employee – let’s leave that way of doing things in that environment (although the method in Acts might be readily transferable; just not the other way around).  It is first and foremost a calling, and it is also a place that we must be careful not to be too hasty in electing someone into.  Do not “lay hands too quickly.” Do things God’s way instead.

In all ways, we should avoid impulsion, whether it’s making a personal decision, entrusting people to do certain work, or choosing between a Taco Bell binge or settling for a sandwich at home.

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