Filling Positions

Click here to read the passage for today: Acts 6:1-7 CEB.

If you have been in any position of leadership, you have heard about what aspects of the organization are missing or need to be redone. Anything that needs to be done can cause some anxiety among people because our first inclination is to fill the position quickly.

We look around us and find someone who has know-how for what needs to be done and then try to plug them into the role of the new ministry, new event, new aspect we know needs to come to fruition.

When we act with the mentality of placing a warm body to fill the position, how long does the program or event last? How much fruit/results will be seen through the new venture?

As we look at our passage for today, look at how the early Church filled positions. Notice the apostles had people come forward with complaints, with strong suggestions about what more needs to be done. We, as leaders, are not immune to having people complain or show areas that are not at their potential. It could be very easy for leaders to think they have to do everything and find the right people themselves. Or, if complaints are heard all the time then our hearts could become hardened to the true need around.

The apostles could have easily ignored the situation of people not getting food because they had “more important” work to do of proclaiming the gospel; but they didn’t. Instead, the apostles listened! They listened with concern for those around them. They listened with concern to those who were not getting what they needed. They listened.

Then, they commissioned the Greek-speaking disciples to seek out and find the right people. I am sure they took this task very seriously. If the rightly motivated, or gifted, people were not put in the roles of care, the task would not get done in the right spirit or carried out successfully.

Look at who they chose to provide the service: “Stephen, a man endowed by the Holy Spirit with exceptional faith, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.” They chose those who had been gifted and had the right demeanor for this important task. They were not just putting anyone in the position.

I have read books and have listened to great leaders and they always point to finding the people with the right passion and the skills can be learned. Many people believe leaders are made and not born. I believe it is a combination of both. If we can find the people with passion for the task and a vision to accomplish it, then we will hopefully get people who will encourage and build up the community. We are born with some leadership qualities and we can nurture and develop other qualities.

As you are searching for people to fill empty positions seek for passion, seek for being gifted, seek God’s hand, we will be able to have the right type of person to fulfill the task at hand.

Trust that when God places a vision on your heart for a new task, activity, mission, that he will also guide you to the right type of person to aid you.

Cookie Cutters?

Romans 12:4 “We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if all of us had the same function, same mindset, same gifts and talents as each other? Wouldn’t that make life easier? I know we say (and hopefully tease), “If only [insert name or group] would think (or act) just like me, then everything would be right.” After all, I am the one that is always right, correct?

Sometimes I believe we slip into the mindset and attitudes that it would be so much better if everyone else acted and thought just like we do. One of the beauties of the creativeness of God is how much diversity is out there for us to enjoy. Let’s be honest, we like diversity and can get a little bored of the same thing over and over. We like to make choices.

We are not all “cut out of the same mold.” We are all created individually with specific gifts, talents, interests, preferences, etc. This is one of the beautiful parts of our world – how much diversity there is. Yes, we all have differing gifts and talents. Yes, we live in different communities and countries. But I believe this shows the creativity of God.

What this tells me is that we are all part of the same “body.” I also think of this as community of faith or universal church. The body of Christ is the church here on earth. Each part of the body has different functions, and this is what makes the body work.

The challenge I think we have today is to think about the diversity there is around us and how we are really all (hopefully) working toward the same goal. There are people we do not agree with; but this is an opportunity to be thankful and praise God for their gifts and talents being used to build the Kingdom of God here on earth. You and I have a great part to play, even though we may have different functions.

God should be praised daily for the diversity.

Self-Reflection

God has given each one of us gifts. How we utilize these gifts helps expand the Kingdom of God here on earth because we allow others to experience this life. One of our challenges is to be humble about our gifts and use them accordingly. This means that we should do some reflection of ourselves.

Romans 12:3 says, “Because of the grace that God gave me, I say to each one of you: don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought to think. Instead be reasonable since God has measured out a portion of faith to each one of you.” Humility. What exactly is this? Paul writes to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to.

I believe we can easily have a false sense of humility. Often times, we hear people saying things to downgrade their performance or attire just show people don’t think they’re arrogant. The conversation would go something like this:

Person 1 : “You are an amazing artist!”

Person 2: “Well, you know, it wasn’t that big of a deal.”

Here we have a person giving a genuine complement and the other person trying not to take the complement. We do the same thing with clothes. “This old thing? I just pulled it out of the closet today and put it on.” What we are thinking through these conversations is “Heck yeah I’m awesome! Do you know how long I worked on this?” Or “I know this outfit makes me look good, that’s why I’m wearing it.”

To have a better sense of humility, we could know what we are good at and use it for the glory of God instead of giving ourselves praise and glory. So the reality is that humility is “not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.” This means that we are drawn to give credit and attention to the One who gave us the abilities.

Another sense of the Romans 12:3 verse I have been thinking about deals with how we treat other people. If we are to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to, then we should treat others as equals as well. God has given grace to those around us, even if we can’t see it. For us to live this way, we allow others the chance to share ideas, thoughts…basically life; and also we do not dismiss someone’s idea because it is not like ours.

Jesus Christ is asking us to live lives that reflect the God we serve, “This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other. (John 13:35 CEB)” and also “Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete. (Matthew 5:48 CEB)”

This is no small task. Can we do this on our own? Yes; but only for a very short while. We can accomplish this when we allow the Spirit of God into our lives to transform us and mold us into the new creations we were meant to be. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Truthfully, I do not live up to this as I would like. But we can all grown and learn together. How will you allow the Holy Spirit to transform you today and this week to make a difference in another person’s life so they can experience the Kingdom of God right here, right now?

What A Joy!

What a joy it is to wake up each day and see what the new day brings. Each day I wake up is a reminder to thank God for the opportunities that lie ahead, and thank God for His presence with us. This is truly a great gift.

What are some of the gifts you have been given? What would you say is your best gift? I asked these questions to some teenagers recently and I was actually surprised by their answers. They started off by saying things like forgiveness, love, family, friends, talents, humor, etc. Just when we think we have teenagers figured out, they go and say what they really value.

We all have special gifts we have been given by God and it is good for us to use them to work with God to help people live into the Kingdom of God here on earth. These gifts can probably be viewed as several things, but my encouragement for you and I today is to see how we can help people see and experience the Kingdom of God here and now and live into life. So, what gifts do you have that can be utilized for this?

I love this passage from the book of Romans. We’ll look into it for the next few days; but this is a glimpse of how we can begin to live our lives today. We get to work with God and the gifts given to us today. What a JOY!

Because of the grace that God gave me, I can say to each one of you: don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. Instead, be reasonable since God has measured out a portion of faith to each one of you. We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function. In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other. We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, you should prophesy in proportion to your faith. If your gift is service, devote yourself to serving. If your gift is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. If your gift is encouragement, devote yourself to encouraging. The one giving should do it with no strings attached. The leader should lead with passion. The one showing mercy should be cheerful. ~Romans 12:3-8