Gaping Trust

We comfort the hurting. We seek the lost. We encourage the champion. We lend a shoulder to cry on. We speak truth. We open our homes in love. We rock the crying baby. We clean the toilet. We lend a listening ear. We fill empty stomachs. We set limits. We pursue the wanderer. We change dirty diapers. We clean the house, fix the meals and walk the dog. We fix things. It is human nature. It is a Godly quality.

Depending on the size of the church, many of the faithful take on multiple responsibilities weekly to keep things running smoothly - filing in the gaps and fixing things! The worship director may also be the sound tech, children’s choir coordinator and the one who pulls together Christmas and Easter concerts, musicals or specials. The elder may sit on a board making key decisions regarding the future of the church as well as serving as church janitor and head greeter. This reality is often true for both the pastor and his wife. After all, what is the alternative when there are gaps in oversight or simply on the sign-up sheet for VBS volunteers?

The reality of the classic 80/20 Principle inevitably comes into play in all churches from time to time – regardless of attendance or church membership. This principle teaches that 20% of the people in an organization usually do 80% of the work. The 20% are usually referred to as the faithful, but sometimes are referred to as the bossy and overbearing. Murmurings can be heard from the sidelines – “I would if I could, but my work schedule you see…” “They think they run the church, so let them do it.” Ouch!

On the other spectrum of things, church leadership realizes the importance of training, equipping and teaching. Individuals in the church body catch the vision of how and where they can fit in to use their gifts and abilities to strengthen the church. The gap between 20 and 80 shrinks. A sense of community grows stronger. Friendships develop. A spirit of teamwork is born.

…and somewhere in between is the sweet enthusiasm of a new member, a visitor, a teen or a refreshed soul that eagerly anticipates and volunteers for the opportunities that are posted and needing filled.

 All that effort and teamwork keeps the boat afloat, so to speak. Some gaps are slow leaks and can go unattended for a season. Other gaps need filled rather quickly and consistently or they will rock the boat significantly. Knowing which gaps need filled and when is an art – and sometimes a balancing act. Trusting God to fill in the gaps is vital.
  • In trusting God, we have to trust man. 
  • In trusting God, we have to let go and allow others to join the journey. 
  • In trusting God, we must allow Him to help others “fix” the fixable. 
  • In trusting God, we may need to stretch ourselves, our schedules and our attitudes.
  • In trusting God, we may need to go beyond our insecurities. 
  • In trusting God, we may need to let go of strongholds or even valuable ministries. 
  • Bottom line – God can fix it and He may or may not use us in that process.

…take a deep breath now….in and out…there you go. 

It isn’t easy, I know.

Now, don’t go and cancel the next event or ministry that has a gap in leadership if God doesn’t immediately come to the rescue and provide a volunteer. It is a process. A process that needs prayer, trust and wisdom. When to move forward, when to hold back.

My challenge for you today is this. What gap are you filing that someone else could fill? What class are you teaching that someone else could teach? What event are you coordinating or chaperoning that you could seek out individuals to serve alongside of you?

…or what ministry has God called you to that you keep saying “No” to? Is it time for you to become a part of the 20%? Be honest. Where do you fit into the ministry of your church?

My second challenge to you today is this. Often we like things the way we like things. Our way seems best, but there is another principle out there that says something like this: If someone can do it 80% as well as you, let them do it. Can you give up that 20%? Can you trust God to grow others? Can you let go and allow others to grow in their faith and ministry to the local church and community?

Do you have a gaping hole in your trust level of God?

Be honest and seek the wisdom of God as you move forward into a new year. James 1:5 teaches us that, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

When is the last time you asked God for wisdom in dealing with a situation? Really asked - and waited for a response?

James 1:6-8 continues with a caution: “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

Trust, there it is again.

Where do you need to let go? Where do you need to step up? What do you need to pray for God’s wisdom about in the days ahead?

Trust Him! I challenge you.


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