Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Voice of Reason...

Today's Life Journal readings are Malachi 3, Malachi 4, Psalm 148, and Acts 5. 

Scripture: Acts 5:38-39 (NIV)
"Therefore, in the present case, I advise you: Leave these men alone!  Let them go!  For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.  But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."

Peter and John are at it again.  They got out of prison, went right back to doing what they were doing, were caught again, and brought back in front of the Sanhedrin.  This time, the Sanhedrin wanted to put them to death, but Gamaliel was the voice of reason in the room and talked them out of it.

If I had a dollar for every time something similar had happened in a church board meeting...well, I'd have several dollars.  One would think, that among disciples, there would be a lower propensity for folks to act solely out of emotion or some kind of knee-jerk reaction.   Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

I have been witness to church board meetings that I had to shut down before they came to blows, and can totally understand the danger Peter and John were in during this interrogation by the ruling council.  I would like to think they were just that passionate about maintaining the integrity of their faith, but more than likely there was something else going on.

Every church needs to have at least one Gamaliel, and it doesn't need to be the pastor.  There should be someone who can step back, and with a level head and cool emotions, look at the big picture.  Without that presence in church meetings, things can go bad in a hurry.  In fact, that is the first person I start looking for when I arrive at a new appointment.  It takes a few meetings to begin to see who it is, but once I find my Gamaliel in the church, I put them to work.     

If you want a better pastor and/or a better church, become the Gamaliel among your ranks.  If you can be the calming presence in a heated discussion, you will be a bigger help to your pastor, to your church, and to the kingdom than you can ever imagine.

O God of our worship and our business meetings, thank you for those folks who can step back and see you at work through a wider lens.  When our discussions become heated, remind us that passion is a good thing, but that we are also flying the same flag.  Keep our thoughts, our words, and our deeds holy as we work together to build your church.  Amen.

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