Summary: What Jesus did called for change, not reform.
Time for Change
Woodlawn Baptist Church
July 16, 2006
The story is told of a group of men who had been sailing in the Atlantic Ocean when they came too close to shore and crashed against the rocks. Out of concern for other sailors in similar conditions, the surviving group determined to build a lighthouse to warn others of the impending dangers ahead. Those who did not see the light were rescued by those who had built and operated the station.
As it happened, those who crashed and were rescued had a common bond, so they began to hang out at the station to share stories and time together. As they worked and drew more people in, the rescue station began to evolve. With so many people there became greater need of improved facilities. They began installing more comforts to accommodate their gatherings, put together a few fundraisers to pay for improvements and they even inserted plaques around the place to commemorate those who had served so faithfully.
In time speakers were brought in to help people adjust to their new lives in the rescue station. They were taught how to rescue people, the benefits of rescuing people and of the need to start other rescue stations up and down the coast. The more they met the more they built and added on and got together, but in doing so they spent less time actually rescuing people. “I don’t want to get wet!” “It’s cold out there!” “Can’t we hire someone to come in and watch for people so we can continue our meetings?”
Sounds an awful lot like church doesn’t it? So often the Lord’s churches begin with a great desire to do the right thing and make a great impact on other lives, but then as more people come in more and more time is consumed with administration and organizational needs than with reaching out and dragging others out of danger. It is easy to become consumed with our own needs rather than those for which we were created. It happened in Jesus day and it is happening in ours.
Listen, enough is enough. The world has had enough of what they have come to accept as Christendom and the results are telling. I don’t want to spend time today though talking about all that is wrong with church or the world because of church. What I do want to do is show you that when Jesus came to earth and encountered the emptiness of religion, He openly declared war and cried out “Enough is enough! It is time for a change.” Jesus made some radical changes in His day, changes that are needed again today.
We Must Change Our Method Of Choosing Leaders
Luke tells us in 6:12,
“And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles.”
Have you paid much attention to the way we choose leaders in our churches today? From the way we choose pastors to our teachers and helpers and other workers in the church, more often than we’d like to admit leadership roles are reserved for those with a warm body temperature and a little bit of personality.
Maybe it’s not that bad, but Luke doesn’t tell us that Jesus prayed all night to God for no reason. I know you prayed about calling me as your pastor, but there’s always been something wrong to me with inviting a string of preachers to come and preach before making a decision. It turns into a personality and preaching contest. We pray about who was the best and then call them. When we need a teacher for a class, do we spend much time in prayer asking God for the right person? In reality we just ask around, “Is anyone interested in teaching?” If we get a bite we stick a quarterly in their hand and show them to the room!
Jesus didn’t do any such thing. Listen to me: there was plenty of leadership material hanging out in the synagogues of His day. There were plenty of well-educated men, plenty with charisma, plenty with talent, plenty who knew the Word of God, and plenty who could take charge and get the job done. But when Jesus chose those who would lead in this new endeavor, He chose twelve of the most unlikely men around, twelve of the most unqualified men around, twelve of the most unsuitable men in terms of what man might look for to do the job Jesus was calling them to do.
But Jesus didn’t conduct a poll. He didn’t make His decision based on who or what was popular or normal. He got away from the crowds and the noise and the busyness and spent a night in prayer. Why? Because God knows what we do not know. God knows who will be faithful. God knows who will take a stand. God knows what a man or woman is made of. God sees tomorrow; we cannot. And because He sees what we cannot see; and because God understands what we cannot understand, and because God knows what we do not know – we must put our absolute trust in Him when it comes to choosing those who will lead in our church.