Immoveable – Chaos of Carrying Too Much
Text: Acts 6:1-7
- The story is told of a man driving along a road behind a van and began to notice something strange. At every red traffic light the lorry driver jumped out of the cab and pounded the side of the van with a wooden baton, then jumped back in the cab and drove off.
- After seeing this happen at 5 or 6 lights, the man’s curiosity got the best of him. At the next light, he jumped out of his car and ran up to the driver who was furiously pounding his van. He said, “Hey fella, can I ask you what you’re doing?”
- The driver said, “It’s like this. I have a one ton van and two tons of canaries in the back. That means I have to keep a ton of birds in the air at all times or this truck won’t move.”
- Have you ever felt that way — like you had more canaries than you could carry?
- Sometimes we are carrying things God never asked us to carry
- Let’s look at an account that takes place in the early days of the church. Literally, in the first year or so of the church’s existence.
- It was a brand new group, filled with the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit. God was moving among the people every day … every day numbers were being added to the community of faith … every day people were coming to Christ … every day urgent needs and matters of importance were being presented to the leaders that required their attention now… and it was up to the apostles to find a way to get things in order.
- God was behind all the growth they were experiencing but it is wrong for us to expect for God to gift-wrap all the details and deliver them on our doorstep. When we’re faced with a challenge, we’re expected to do our part. We can’t just say, “Let God handle it,” because His response is likely to be: No, you handle it. I’m filling your life with all these blessings and opportunities and it’s up to you to manage them well.
- If you’re in the middle of the chaos that comes with having too many canaries, there are three things you need to keep an eye out for. First of all, you need to…
- Watch for Areas of Neglect
- This situation between the Hebraic Jews and the Grecian Jews — it was a neglected area. It was something slipping through the cracks. It was a serious matter that had been overlooked and couldn’t be left any longer.
- Just because you’re busy — just because you’ve got a lot on your plate doesn’t give you permission to ignore the needs of others or to ignore problematic situations.
- There are many people who think: If I ignore this problem long enough, it will go away. If I just leave this door open, some of these canaries will fly away and I won’t have to deal with them anymore.
- That’s not the way to develop strength in the midst of chaos. That’s the easy way out, not the immovable way out.
- Watch Out for Things that Won’t Compete with your Priorities.
- The apostles said, in effect, “Yes, this is a problem that needs to be addressed, but we have another problem as well. Our top priority is preaching and teaching the Word of God. And if we devote all of our time to the daily distribution of food as important as this ministry might be we won’t have time to tend to what God has called us to do above everything else: Preaching the Word.”
- It’s not that preaching is more important than serving, or that preaching is more important than seeing to the needs of others. Both need to be done, but the apostles themselves couldn’t do it all. So they got creative and came up with a plan that didn’t compete with their top priority of preaching the Word.
- One mistake we make when our schedules become too full is that we start cutting things from our schedule.
- This can be a good thing if we’re cutting out non-essential time-wasting activity that God did not call us to carry but it’s a bad thing when our schedule culling causes us to overlook essential matters.
- Eliminating TV? Good. Eliminating ministry to others in need? Not good.
- Let’s not make that mistake. Neither do we want to make the next mistake. The second mistake we make when our schedules become too full we allow ourselves to become distracted from first things. Priority one for the apostles was preaching the Word. A very close second was the daily distribution of food to those in need. The apostles couldn’t do both themselves, so they came up with a plan that allowed for both to be done.
- If your plate is too full, there is a solution that doesn’t involve dismissing the needs of others and that doesn’t involve setting outside your top priorities.
- Watch Out For What Others Bring to the Table.
- The apostles said, 3 “Here’s a job that desperately needs to be done … and look: we have seven men who are well respected and filled with the Holy Spirit and overflowing with wisdom. Let’s get them plugged in to ministry.”
- These seven men were ideal for the job because the apostles had been doing their job. Their job was to teach and preach the Word so that Christ would be formed in them and they might become fully devoted disciples.
- The Bible says that they were filled with the Spirit — they got filled with the Spirit sitting under the apostle’s teaching.
- The Bible says that were full of wisdom — they developed wisdom while sitting under the apostle’s teaching.
- If the disciples had spent all their time waiting tables rather than preaching the Word, these men would not have become mature believers, and they wouldn’t have been ready to step into their own area of ministry.
- If your plate is too full, it’s not that God wants you to toss out some of the good stuff on your plate. It’s that he wants you to find a way to share what’s on your plate with others.
- When you’ve got too much on your plate, God wants to help you get a bigger plate.
- As long as you are serious about being dedicated follower of Jesus Christ, you’ll never get to the place where you have next-to-nothing to do. You’ll never get to the place where your schedule isn’t full.
- That’s because we’re not on holiday here. This isn’t an extended Summer Break. In this life we’ve got a job to do — a world to change.