Summary: In selecting elders we need to see their calling and purpose; the need for delegating authority; and key actions involved in the process.
A photographer from a well-known national magazine was assigned to cover the fires at Yellowstone National Park. The magazine wanted to show some of the heroic work of the fire fighters as they battled the blaze.
When the photographer arrived, he realized that the smoke was so thick that it would seriously impede or make it impossible for him to photograph anything from ground level. He requested permission to rent a plane and take photos from the air. His request was approved and arrangements were made. He was told to report to a nearby airport where a plane would be waiting for him.
He arrived at the airport and saw a plane warming up near the gate. He jumped in with his bag and shouted, "Let's go!" The pilot swung the little plane into the wind, and within minutes they were in the air.
The photographer said, "Fly over the park and make two or three low passes so I can take some pictures."
"Why?" asked the pilot.
"Because I am a photographer," he responded, "and photographers take photographs."
The pilot was silent for a moment. Finally he stammered, "You mean you're not the flight instructor?"
When it comes to our spiritual lives, we better be certain that someone competent is in control. If we assume (as did the two men above) that someone else has the ability to guide us safely, we may well be headed for disaster (unless that someone else is Christ).
"And He spoke a parable to them: 'Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher." (Luke 6:39-40)
In the next few weeks we will be in the process of selecting additional Elders – we know the importance of the task; and the seriousness
12 And Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God; and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses' father-in-law before God. 13 The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. 14 When Moses' father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?” 15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God; 16 when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.”
17 Moses' father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. 19 Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you!
You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, 20 and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do.
21 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.”