Um, no…



Scripture: Acts 5:2 Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. 2 And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, 4 while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.” 5 What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch.

Observation: Some people in the early church believed they were getting short-changed in the distribution of food rations, so the problem was brought to the apostles. Someone apparently suggested the apostles get directly involved in working out the mechanics of this issue, but the apostles declined. It’s not that the issue was unimportant. Hardly. It’s just that the body of Christ would be better served if other leaders handled the matter – freeing the apostles to do what they were uniquely qualified to do (prayer and teaching the word).

Application: People at the church I lead in suburban Dallas are often surprised at the breadth of things I know little or nothing about. I frequently find myself saying things like, “I’m not sure, but I’ll bet (so and so) would know the answer to your question.” Sometimes people are annoyed when I say something like this. I’m sorry to disappoint, but here are three things to consider:

First, there are lots of things I’m just not very good at. Other staff and lay leaders are much better, so I do my best to empower such people and let them do their thing for Jesus. The church is better served this way, trust me.

Second, there are a number of things I do as the senior leader which are hard to delegate – things like strategy, preaching, direction, spiritual discernment, staff development, some administrative functions, and a few other things. I don’t often do these things alone, but my participation is essential. I spend MOST of my time on these things.

Three, I hope to serve in my current call for years to come, so I have to be diligent in avoiding burnout. As a pastor, as in many other professions, it’s easy to work all the time. It’s how lots of pastors suffer from poor health, depression, and more. Saying “no” to some things gives me space to say “yes” to the most important things – and to steward my personal well being for the long haul.

Question: as a leader, what are the things you should do – and shouldn’t do?

Prayer: Lord give us wisdom to discern where to say “yes” and where to say “no”. Amen.

One thought on “Um, no…

  1. Laura Butzow

    Thank you, Pastor Ernie, for your leadership and your love for the Lord. I agree that it’s essential to put God first and to “just say no” to people and “things” that take your time/focus off of God and His purpose for your life. As a life-long “people pleaser” and “yes (wo)man” I am slowly but surely learning to say no as the Holy Spirit guides and empowers me. God bless your day and your ministry – PS: it was a pleasure seeing Danielle at Einstein Bagel this morning and she gave me a warm, happy hug! Merry Christmas an Go Cowboys!

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