“Best’s” best enemy…

open-bible 2John was on his way to his son’s ballgame and received a call. “Come to the church. The mower needs some maintenance.” John was no mechanic. In fact, he is a pastor. He does have “a particular set of skills” that allows him to eventually fix things because he can visually work through mechanical processes, but it is not his sweet spot. The mower is important. So is the ball game. Both are good but only one is best. “Best’s” best enemy is not some evil thing, but a good thing. There is a good thing to do and a best thing to do. Always choose the best.

In Acts 6, the ministry and influence of the early church was increasing exponentially. One of the main roles of the church was to care for the most vulnerable in society, widows and orphans. This is a good thing, and sometimes the best thing. In fact, it is always a “best” thing for someone but not always for everyone. The pressure was on by those who were concerned about the widows. The pressure was really on by those who were offended that THEIR widows were being neglected while others were being cared for and the only reason seemed to be racial bias. The call rose up to the Apostles… (Y’all) come fix this!

Now look at the response:

“The Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, ‘It would not be right for us to give up preaching the word of God to wait on tables’.” (Acts 6:2, CSB)

Now I cannot speak for you, but as for me, even typing that verse made me a little uncomfortable. How can the Apostles reject a ministry opportunity in front of them for Bible Study and Preaching? Don’t they know that “pure and unfiled religion in the sight of God is this, to care for widows and orphans in their distress…” (James 1:27).

Truthfully, OF COURSE they knew this! For the Church (community as a whole) this is a non-negotiable but as for the Apostles, their calling was more narrow and specific. They obviously did ministry and cared for people. They also were charged with a specific task and calling that only they could do while others (who were not charged with the responsibility of the Word ministry) could easily care for the ministry to the widows.

The point is- God has gifted and called you to do certain things. Do that/those. Andy Stanley says (to pastors in the context I heard it), “Only do what only you can do.” The Apostles indicate here that releasing ministry to those who could focus their attention on widow ministry while they ministered the Word was the appropriate response. I have said it many times like this, “The NEED is never the Call…the Call is the Call.”

So, do what you are called to do. Don’t use this verse as “cover” for laziness. Work and work hard. If you can do something…do it…unless it interferes with Best. Then do Best and leave Good for the person to whom Good is Best. If you do, God will be glorified, the church will be encouraged, the needs will be met and you’ll not wear yourself out in the process.

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I am Dying…Just 1 More Year!

lightIn a conference that I participated in this week, one of the speakers posed the question, “What if you had three and only three years left to live?” How would you lives those remaining days?

As I have been chewing on that, it occurs to me that this is both helpful and painful. It is destructive and edifying…all at the same time.

How so…you might ask? (Yep…me too.)

If you only had a limited and fixed number of days to live, you’d likely spend every one of them in the most productive way possible. You would pursue the most important purposes. You would not allow yourself to become bogged down with the trivial things that so often consume your time and energy. You would be highly sensitive to the investment and outcome of every ounce of effort. After all…today is nearly gone and tomorrow promises one less day to invest in the Kingdom of God.

  • Certainly, you would invest in helping your family know how to live without you. You would pour into your children (in every possible way) the wisdom necessary to make it through the next several chapters of their lives.
  • You would seek to impress your affections for your spouse.
  • You would “bury the hatchet” with that old and lingering enemy. After all…life is short.
  • You would make amends with everyone.
  • You would seek to help others know (if you are a disciple of Jesus) the urgency of Salvation!

What would likely not be so prominent:

  • Your sports team’s record.
  • The fact that your friend hurt your feelings by saying something stupid.
  • Getting another raise (as if ten cents an hour really was important).
  • Buying that third pair of shoes or the latest CD or “rims” for your truck.

The fact is, we spend a lot of energy on things that are temporal and allow that which is eternal get pushed back until tomorrow. This, in light of the fact that we do have a fixed number of days (It is appointed unto man once to die), and that all men will stand before God and give an account for what he/she did with the Messiah of God. He/she will not be judged for his comparative righteousness or his education or heart for social justice…but for what he/she did with Jesus. In light of that…does not our daily concern for the temporal call us to repentance in light of its idolatrous pursuits.

I am dying! This is certain. If I am to be effective in my life and not squander the gift that God has given me, I must act AS IF it is at an unknown but very soon coming date and live purposefully and for the glory of God above all else. God deserves nothing less from me as I respond to His great grace toward me in giving me abundant life through salvation in His Son.