Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Cor 3:17 ESV)
In providence, the sermon I heard yesterday was on Spiritual leadership, taking from Acts 6.
The problem was an administrative problem but it was a problem. When widows were being fed, one demographic was fed, while another was not...how to solve it.
Which is more important?
spiritual LEADERSHIP.....or.....SPIRITUAL leadership?
We can tend to see our spirituality as one aspect of our person, along with psychological, emotional, physical, mental, sexual, social, etc.
We can see our spirituality as encompassing all that we do. Anything that we do that is of the Spirit IS spiritual.
The apostles understood their job to be one of discernment and proclamation of the Gospel message. Also understanding that in their apostolic leadership role, they could not do everything; things (such as the group of widows) were slipping through the cracks.
Rather than wait on tables, the apostles decided to choose a group of men to do take care of the administrative and day-to-day details.
But wait! Wait on tables? Couldn't they have hired that done?
No....no. The men who were chosen were not any men, even the men chosen for this task were "of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom."
It is a false dichotomy to set up
- the spiritual
- against the physical.
- the leadership
- against the servant
In reality, it is
- the spiritual act of leadership in discerning and proclaiming the Word and
- the spiritual act of leadership in administration and serving
Everything can be spiritual.
- The Apostles were doing a spiritual job
- the Seven were doing a spiritual job.
Were all of these men equal in salvation? Yes.
Were all of these men equal in personhood? Yes.
Were all of these men doing vital jobs? Yes.
Were the Seven under the authority of the Apostles? Yes.
Were they doing the same job? No.
Were they supposed to be doing the same job? No.
Were they all working in the Spirit? Yes.
Does this make the seven "less" than the apostles? Less equal? In importance? No...feeding the poor and caring for those less fortunate is a command. In salvation? No, there is no Scriptural evidence that the Apostles were more "saved" than the Seven. In personhood? No, they were all human. In authority? Yes. The Apostles were given authority over the church, while the Seven were given authority over administration under the Apostles.
So, rather than seeing a group of leaders (spiritual) and a group of servants (physical) what we have are two groups of men, both doing spiritual jobs, both serving God in vital ways, both equal in personhood and salvation, but not equal in authority.
The pastor compared the Apostles and the Seven to the church today:
He likened the Apostles to the elders and pastors. They are the ones who are responsible for discerning the will of God for the congregation. They are the ones responsible for church discipline. Even within that group, there is leadership structure. The elders are responsible for the discerning of the long-term and overall direction, while the pastors are the ones who are more responsible for leading day-to-day activities.
He compared the Seven to the board of deacons, the ministry facilitation and operations staff. They are the ones who carry out the direction of the elders, under the leadership of pastors.
Are any of the jobs less "spiritual"? No. Are the elders and pastors more important than the deacons and staff? No, they all fill vital shoes.
Is the child with Down Syndrome who passed out bulletins any less spiritual than the pastor? I think the pastor would say no? Is the child less valuable, less equal in the eyes of God? I think the pastor would say no.
Is the spiritual act of servant-hood less equal than the spiritual act of pastoring?