Practical Solutions for Spiritual Leaders

Today was busy day for me. I attended my regular Tuesday morning prayer time and then conducted two Bible studies at Morning Star Assisted Living facility and then had a Rotary lunch. By the time my afternoon fitness center appointment came, I was surprised I was feeling as good as I did.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “It would not be right for us to give up preaching about God to handle financial matters. Therefore, brothers, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the preaching ministry.”                    Acts 6:2-4 HCSB

You can never anticipate all the challenges of a new venture and a new work the Lord is doing. But the Lord does promise to give us wisdom and insight to address the issues that confront us as we do His work.

After the Day of Pentecost the church experiences rapid growth. They are a church connected, serving together and meeting each others needs. Part of this was the feeding of widows and those in need. Soon the disciples found themselves burdened down with the day to day tasks of this administration and it was wearing them down and diverting them from their main responsibility.

In the midst of this contentions and strife arose. As a result the twelves disciples spoke to the people and instructed them to select seven men to handle this responsibility and they would give themselves to prayer and the preaching of the Word.

This practical duty required spiritual qualifications. The men were to have a good reputation, be full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. This resulted in what is often referred to as a “division of labor” or a classic form of “partnership.” It is an arrangement where individuals work in their sphere of expertise and the synergy created allows for a greater effectiveness and sustains growth that would not otherwise be possible.

An important aspect of leadership is to understand your skills and limitations and then bringing others with complementary skills to the task to address various areas of need. The result for the first century church was greater peace, effectiveness and the growth of God’s Word.

We see a similar event taking place when Moses was leading the Children of Israel in the wilderness. Jethro, Moses, father-in-law visits him and notices all the people standing for hours waiting to speak to Moses and have him render judgment in cases of conflict and to help them understand God’s will. Jethro gives Moses some advice…

“…You be the one to represent the people before God and bring their cases to Him.  Instruct them about the statutes and laws, and teach them the way to live and what they must do. But you should select from all the people able men, God-fearing, trustworthy, and hating bribes. Place them over the people as commanders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. They should judge the people at all times.”  (Exodus 18:19-22 HCSB)

Sometimes it takes an “outsider” to see what is not working and the dangers. Jethro tells Moses, “What you are doing it not good.” His concern was for Moses being worn out and the people not being adequately served.

Both of these accounts have some similar features. They both involved the need for a “strategy” to deal with the challenge of leadership and the people involved. In Exodus, Jethro pointed out the problem to Moses, in Acts the disciples became aware of the burden themselves.

In both of these situations we see the need for others to come to a place of leadership, responsibility and service. Jesus Himself, did not “go it alone.” One of the first things He did was to begin calling men to follow Him. He then sent them out to preach and heal.

Then we see that fact that the steps taken were needed for the good of the leader, the people and the task that was before them. Moses was leading the people to the promise land. The disciples were fulfilling the great commission. What we find is, if changes don’t take place, growth and effectiveness is hindered. Those required changes can be hard for leader and people, but it is what is necessary and it is part of God’s wisdom and plan.

Finally, both of these situations reveal to us that God is concerned about the practical aspects of His work and our lives. There is no dichotomy between the spiritual and “practical.” God’s wisdom is available to solve practical issues as well as give spiritual insight and discernment. We need to continually realize that the Lord is able to guide and bless all aspects of our life.