What Do You Do When You Lose the Vote?
by Tazz Dickey Sr 6/16/2009 / Church Life
Whenever there are decisions to be made there are usually two sides to the coin. Most people feel they back a cause that is just and others should see it their way. Even after much debate, there is usually a point of difference that neither side can understand why the others don't come around to their way of thinking.
If this happens in a Christian's life, it is difficult to remember that God's will is in everything. They ask 'God, why can't these thick heads understand what is right? Why don't they see that You have given me the right answer? Lord, if I were in the wrong, wouldn't You have told me?' When Christians disagree, it is a special set of circumstances, because each side feels that they are doing God's will and it is important not to fail.
The simple truth is that God gave us minds of our own and wills of our own. Sometimes even after many hours of seeking the face of God in prayer, we come to a conclusion that is mainly our own. However, there are times when the majority opinion is against what God had planned.
Many times in the old testament God had great things planned for his people, only for them to choose a golden calf or want a King? God is not opposed to letting the 'free will' He put in us, so that we would choose Him, run its course to the point of failure.
So, what happens when you are in the minority on a church decision that will affect everyone? Even though you feel it is wrong the church has decided how to proceed 'in God's will'.
Let's presume scenario #1: That it is God's will and you were wrong.
Look in 1 Samuel 12:14-15
14 If you will fear the LORD and serve him and hearken to his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God, it will be well; 15 but if you will not hearken to the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you.
So, if you were a little askew on your "heavenly radar" and were wrong, and the church has voted in the way God had led, his word is very clear. Step up, step in line, obey and all will be well with you. If not, the hand of the Lord will be against you. Plain and simple.
Scenario #2: That it is not God's will and you were right.
"This is not the voice of the Lord, this is just the knot heads in the other pews that I don't agree with. Had it been the voice of the Lord, I would not have a problem with it." Yet, Ephesians 5:21 teaches: Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. You mean that this lame brain that doesn't see the forest for the trees and wouldn't know a good idea if it bit him? I am to be subject to him? This is what God wants? Yes, this is what God wants. To love the Lord your God as yourself, and to love your neighbor. LOVE? You mean tolerate, right? ..Now who is not doing the will of the Lord?
Okay, I want to follow and I want to obey, but what if the decision is just something that is too far out there to be acceptable? "We haven't finished the last two building programs and the church is talking about a home for senior citizens on the property. We can't afford this". Surely God would not put us in further debt, for another ministry.
Look at Paul for a moment in Acts 21:
10 While we were staying for some days, a prophet named Ag'abus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to us he took Paul's girdle and bound his own feet and hands, and said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit, 'So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this girdle and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'" 12 When we heard this, we and the people there begged him not to go up to Jerusalem.
To see Paul treated in such a manor surely could not be God's will. The people were definitely upset by this and defiantly opposed Paul going.
13 Then Paul answered, "What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." 14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, "The will of the Lord be done."
They did not all of a sudden decide that this was okay. Do you think any of them were convinced that this was a good idea? No, they simply realized that God's will is more important than their will.
Probably the most demonstrative example of accepting what God has in our path was displayed by his own son in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus knew his time was accomplished that his must die for the sins of mankind. He knew the terrible fate that awaited him at the hands of the Romans. He knew the disgrace and shame He would face at the request of the religious leaders. He even knew what heartbreak this would bring to his mother and friends. In his agony of accepting the will of God he prayed: "Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." (Luke 22:42 )
Do you think Jesus all of a sudden decided this was a good thing. That the whips and thorns really wouldn't hurt that bad? Do you believe that he thought his mother would invision the big picture and this would not bother her? Jesus was fully aware of what was before him and being 'man', he did not look forward to it at all. He sweated drops of blood in anguish that this cup, this problem, this issue could not be solved some other way. But when the final vote was in, He said, 'not my will, but thine be done.'
It is never easy to lose. It is never good to be on the down side. They don't send the second place basketball team to the Whitehouse to meet the President. Yet, when all is said and done. When the final vote is tallied. there is still the body of Christ that must work together, worship together, laugh and cry together.
Why? Number one. It is scriptural.
1 Corinthians 12:
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single organ, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and those parts of the body which we think less honorable we invest with the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part, 25 that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.
Number 2 - because the whole world is watching to see how Christians act when they disagree. For all the good that has come out of the Southern Baptist Convention, all the work they have done, the only time it made national news is were they was a disgruntled situation. Everywhere God's people are being watched to see if He really does make a difference in the way they live their lives. Everybody 'plays nice' when they win. When they get their way, they are very agreeable. Just like your kids when you are on the way home from the store with their new bike, you are the greatest Dad or Mom in the world.
But, what happens when the answer is "No." How do people who profess to love God with all their heart, and their neighbor as themselves respond when that neighbor just got his way on the church vote and we were defeated. Do we go pout. Do we 'take our toys and go home?' Or, do we roll up our sleeves, get down on our knees and help in everyway we can to see that God's family is as unified as we can.
Joshua 24:15 - And if you be unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
Tazz Dickey, Sr. - Sunday school teacher and speaker for 30 years. Writings include a study on love from the Old Testament. Submissions: San Jacinto Baptist Assoc., church histories, local newspapers. Playwrite/production for youth including BSU. Divorce recovery support articles.