“Dear, I feel downright miserable. Out of breath. I think it’s an anxiety attack. My chest feels heavy and I think I’m losing it.”

“Well, Harry, the sooner you learn you can’t – and shouldn’t do everything yourself, the faster you will feel better. You just take on too many things and never let anything go. You think you must do it all! In fact, I’ve heard you say, in this very kitchen, that no one else can do it as well as you can. I wish you would take that motto down from over your desk. I never felt good about it from day one. It’s a borderline boastful statement: ‘If you want it done right, do it yourself.’ Don’t you think that sounds a bit arrogant?”

“Dear, stop lecturing. Hurry up. Get me the pills. I’ve got to get going. I’m supposed to be selecting the pictures for our Gospel Outreach calendar and then, I must go over and count the hymnbooks and make sure there are no dog-eared pages or chewed bindings. I also must find time today to prepare an outline for the Bible Study I have to open this evening and I promised sister Julia that I would learn a new tune for the hymn I always seem to give out. Hurry, I need a pill.”

Brother Harry needs more than a pill. He needs to read Acts 6.

The local church in Jerusalem was growing rapidly. With growth, comes increased responsibilities, challenges and issues. Yes, there were spiritual responsibilities, such as teaching the Word of God but there were many legitimate temporal needs requiring attention as well.  Of particular concern were the poor and hungry Greek widows who seemed to be falling between the cracks at meal time.

What did the Apostles do? Continue to do everything themselves? The Apostles wisely addressed the food-distribution issue by addressing a more important issue – the work-distribution issue. “Find seven responsible men to look after food production and distribution. Give us their names and we will delegate that responsibility to them, so we can focus on teaching and praying.”

Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word. Acts 6:3-4 NASB

The Apostles not only delegated the task of managing the food-distribution, they delegated the task of selecting those who would manage it. Sometimes leaders try to delegate the task but think they must find clones of themselves or ‘yes-men’ – brothers and sisters who will always nod their head up and down – never sideways.

One of the obvious symptoms of an unhealthy assembly (other than a very small one) is when two or three do 80% of what needs to be done. They are the welcomers. They are the song starters. They are the correspondence readers. They salt the ice on the steps. They are the Bible Study and Youth work leaders. They are the managers of the thermostat and assume full responsibility for the opening and shutting of the window blinds. They are the sound technicians and Bulletin Board CEO’s. Their wives run the kitchen for fellowship meals and operate as the official interior decorators as well.

If you’re a young person in such an assembly, don’t get bent out of shape over it. Don’t become bitter. That’s not a constructive solution to the problem. Bitterness is destructive. Pray tenderly and daily for those who do practically everything. Ask the Lord to change their behaviour. Ask the Lord to give you the patience and grace needed to treat them totally with respect and love.

In the meantime, make yourself busy, studying the Word of God and growing in Christ. Focus on becoming a vessel that is prepared and ready to be used for the things of God. When your time comes to lead, you will know what to avoid and not duplicate.

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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