Acts 4:7 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”
You know, that’s not a bad question to ponder, that last one.
One lesson that I have had to learn is that the more influence you have, the more frustration you will have.
Think about it, whenever we find ourselves in a position of influence, be it in church leadership or any type of leadership first thing we think about is something like “great now I am in a position where I can bring about real change.” (Whatever real as opposed to fake change is.)
But hold the phone. For anyone in Christian leadership, consider the question, how much more stress do we cause ourselves when we buy into the view that we are the primary change agent?
Confession time, most of the worst, most stressful times in my life so far have happened during the times of greatest belief in my own ability. Let me say that again: most of the worst, most stressful times in life so far have happened during the times of greatest belief in my own ability.
Here’s what happens, underneath so much of the nonsense that inhabits popular leadership theory is the post-enlightenment idea that if we simply get educated and employ the right technique, we’ll be a success and the thing that we are trying to do will go gangbusters.
This is where the Sadducees are at. (Ooohh, maybe not so post-enlightenment after all?) They have convinced themselves that they know the right stuff, are doing the right stuff, and in fact that they are the right stuff and yet, at this time in history, their whole movement is on the decline. Just try finding any historical witness that speaks of the Pharisee/Sadducee movement as a going concern post 1st Century A.D.
Thus their question to Peter and John, (who have just achieved and audience that these guys haven’t had in years) is revealing. In short: How are you doing this?
Peter eventually of course tells them that it is by the power of the name of Jesus of Nazareth. That’s going to annoy them even more.
They hated this guy.
Yep, the ‘builders’ who rejected the cornerstone were not pagans but the bible scholars of the day.
Here’s the point, nothing, but nothing in churches, in life and in the world is going to last that is not or was not brought about by the power of Jesus.
Before you ask the question; the answer is yes, this does include when we have plans and then ask God to bless them. No matter how many spiritual ‘heavy hitters’ you have in your prayer meeting.
Those agendas will come to nothing too, because it was our idea. No matter how good it is. (I wonder if this is why it had to be Solomon and not David to build the temple?)
Only that done in his power and in his name will ever really last. This is not to say that God can nor does work thru human ideas, but he absolutely sees and measures our motives, for those ideas. That is, if they are for our promotion or his promotion.
So how do we apply that? One word: Wait. Wait for the Lord to reveal his plan and then and only then proceed. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis: progress in the wrong direction is another way of going backwards.
So how are we getting things done?
Because how we are doing things may reveal a lot about why some things are an absolute drag and others seem to not simply work, but impart more joy.
Don’t jump, wait. To do so is a step of faith in God that he will reveal his will.
All good things come to those who wait!