I met Russ in the Joint Reserves Officer Course we are both taking. We went to church on Sunday and had lunch together—both missing our families on Father’s Day. Russ is a Captain in the Navy and a Delta pilot. He and I found we shared many things in common. Our time fellowshipping was quite enjoyable.
Russ mentioned that while in college he once led a time of worship at a spiritual rally. Afterwards, one of the ministry leaders commented that he seemed to thrive and really enjoy leading worship. Russ agreed and shared that he could easily see himself serving as a worship leader in the future. Then something unexpected happened. The mentor asked Russ when he was going to let go of song leading and really get on with doing what was important. Wanting to please him, Russ dutifully set aside his guitar and never played again.
Romans 12:16—Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
The context of the passage above (see 12:3-18) has to do with recognizing that God specifically gifts His followers and that we are to be humble about the way we view ourselves and sensitive to what is true in the lives of fellow Christians. I confess my spirit was riled when Russ shared about setting aside his guitar to please the dictates of men in an organization devoted to training Christians. What happened to Russ happens too often in Christianity and it is one of several reasons why we as a body of Christ are ineffective in reaching our world.
The Holy Spirit under God’s direction gifts each believer. When these gifts are recognized, nurtured and allowed to flourish, team development is fabulous and local communities see firsthand the power of God at work. Unfortunately, too often, well-meaning leaders suppress gifts or activity they view as secondary so as to accomplish the particular bent of their local body or organization.
The problem with downplaying or suppressing the giftedness of a brother or sister is that this constitutes meddling. Meddling is involving oneself in a matter without right or invitation; it is interfering and intrusive. It does not matter if it is well-intentioned, the results can be extremely harmful. To meddle is to be a junior holy spirit. I think we meddle for several reasons. For some, it is a need to control, which is truly a symptom of insecurity. For others, it is a fixation on a narrow band of truth that is excusive of God’s broader band and bigger intentions. For others it is a failure to appreciate what they do not understand and a fear of imbalance by the emergence of other gifts. Only if moved by the Holy Spirit in accordance with God’s Word do we have the right to prescribe.
To suggest that someone should set aside leading worship for other activity is blatantly unscriptural. God made us to worship Him! Russ’s ability to grow in intimacy with his Father through talents bestowed upon him and to be an encourager to others was lost by the counsel of a meddler. Instead of praising God for gifting Russ and encouraging him, his leader was “wise in his own estimation,” demeaning the creative infusion of the Spirit. To insist that believers function in a manner confined to our building standards is to bludgeon the possibility of spiritual intimacy surfacing in our fellowship. We are scratching stones instead of polishing gems. We are playing god and we will one day stand accountable for our presumptuous interference. Don’t meddle.
Where the Holy Spirit is allowed to do His work, Jesus Christ will be glorified and others will be drawn to Him.—Dale Galloway in 20/20 Vision
©2009 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)