Acts 14:23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
The more I think about this the more it blows my mind. That’s because I’ve been to seminary and had formal ordination and have been in ministry for over 35 years since. I guess it comes down to trusting Jesus with His Church. The new disciples in these towns had been believers only a matter of months, and here they were being appointed as elders! In his letters to Timothy and Titus Paul gives several guidelines for choosing such people, but still the process wouldn’t pass muster in practically any denomination today. We make it so hard to serve God! The key is in the last part of this verse: “They committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed/trusted.” They had no means of follow up other than letters or physically going to see them, but they knew that God had no such limitations. We get in knots over churches and people because we think we are in charge. I think a major reason God allows some problems is to teach us we aren’t in charge! A major factor in the growth of the early Church was that they weren’t tied down by bureaucracy. They knew they were powerless but God was omnipotent, and that was OK. I think the Church today would be far better off if we really trusted the Lord in whom we say we believe.
This is of course extremely applicable to me. I had the privilege of ordaining an assistant pastor about two months ago, but I’ve been moving fairly slowly with him since. I did trust him to preach the four Sundays I was gone, but that’s about it. I’m not retiring or leaving any time soon (that I know of) so the question arises as to what his position, and mine, really are. We need to seek God, individually and together, and be obedient to what He shows us. A missionary friend is holding a “succession ceremony” today, though he himself won’t be leaving the country at this point. Tomorrow I will be driving about two hours to baptize someone who will then have very little support network (though he does call me frequently). All of these things make me examine myself as to how well I really trust God with His children. I am not to be irresponsible, avoiding work He wants me to do, but I’ve got to remember it’s ultimately not up to me.
Father, this raises at least as many questions as it answers. Help me hear You clearly and obey You faithfully. Keep me from running away from anything, but also keep me from getting over-comfortable in my routines. May I trust You enough to get out of Your way, so that Your Name may be hallowed and Your kingdom come as Your will is done, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!