It seems to me that we have a few fundamental issues.
First, many of us overstep our call. Perhaps I'm called to really sow the life of Christ into a handful of people via small groups but because I'm a smart guy, I've been around the block a few times, etc., I notice some things at the church that are not going as well as they could be. What happens? I fool myself into thinking that is what God has called me to do. It starts out innocently. I have the talent. It shouldn't take too much time. Others ask me to do it and praise me for some short term results. Etc.. Initially the scope is low. But with every "success" comes more opportunity. Soon I'm overwhelmed - and by the way, that hand full of people that I could have really effected through the Holy Spirit, I haven't spent any real time with them in weeks. Certainly I am not praying for them daily, calling them to ask how their sick kid is, organizing a little celebration on their birthday, etc..
Nope, now I am completely focused on the "bigger" issues like what format should serving communion take? Should we let this group use our facility or not? Is it ok to park our cars over there? And so on. You know - real Bible stuff [sarcasm]. Sometimes it actually is Bible stuff. Like we really need to deal with so-and-so on some sin issue. But of course we are discussing it and working it by committee rather than by the people in our community that have real relationship with the person. And so on it goes.
And worse, those guys that once seemed to be great spiritual leaders, they don't share my passion for the car parking issue, they would rather talk about the curriculum used in grade 2 Sunday School. And that other guy, he's still going on about the size of the Christmas tree while I didn't think we should have one at all.
Frustration is growing. Tension increases. I do not even have to wait any more for them to fully explain themselves. I know where they are going and why - and more importantly, that they are wrong and that I have a better way. Sometimes contempt sets in.
God called me to care for that hand full and Satan deceived me with good works, recognition by man, etc.. I stepped out into more than God called me to. I need to be quiet. Allow those that are in other areas of leadership to lead with the grace God has given them and I need to do the same in what He has called me to.
But they are doing it all wrong. They really need my help. Right? No - wrong. I will make a more real, bigger, and longer term impact by effectively handling only what God has put on my plate. And while doing that, I need to demonstrate real submission to other leaders. It's easy to submit when we agree. It's time to submit when we do not.
The other problem is that sometimes we are called to more. And when that happens we will bump into others that are frankly not heading in the same direction. Or they are but they do not yet have the capacity for it. Certainly we should hang in and work what God is leading us to but we need to do so respectfully and lovingly. Without bitterness and frustration. When these set in we must ask (1) is my heart right? (2) oops, am I overstepping again? or (3) is it time to step out?
Time to step out? Yes, in addition to over stepping what God calls us to, some of us "under-step". At some point a person needs to stop expecting to be taught and start to teach. To stop critiquing the preacher and to preach. Etc.. I know a lot of guys like me who have received so much grace but we continue to hang in with our full time jobs thinking we are going to support and mold the guys that were obedient enough to go into full time ministry.
I think that some of the tension I feel is that we are just not obedient and willing to step out into all that God is calling us to.
So bottom line, there's too much frustration. It is sin. We need to get our own heart's right regardless of the direction. And then we need to decide if we are over reaching what God has given us or if we are under reaching. It is not ok to be under someone else's authority for the long term thinking that we are there to shape them while harboring a complaining, bitter, etc. spirit.
Next week we start in a new church in Cincinnati - let's see how well I do. Pray for me.