For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. Rom. 5.19
For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. John 17:19
In the networking world, system uptime is everything! Critical systems are configured in HA mode, or high availability. A telcom vendor may tout that their data circuit delivers a service level agreement of 3, 4, or in some cases 5 9s. 5 9s would mean that it is up 99.999 percent of the time. In business it’s all about the $$$, and downtime costs money. But what about our service level agreement in the church world? Does it matter?
Sometimes as a pastor, I try and verbalize certain attitudes that I detect. That doesn’t mean any particular person has ever had the audacity to say it, and I certainly could be wrong. After all, thankfully, I can’t read minds. So let me say, it seems to me that at times, people will say, “I will just come late because somebody else will open up for me.” Or some might say, “I won’t show up today because they can carry on without me.”
I think our 24-To-Double pastor said it best. He said that in Alabama, they claim that the quickest way to kill a dog is to ask three people to feed it. Surely, that would be like building in system redundancy, as with my HA example, wouldn’t it? Actually, it breeds something else. It allows for the dangerous attitude of, “Someone else will feed it.” I really think that is why so often people don’t step up as leaders because you can no longer get away with that type of attitude when you are in charge. That is not to say a leader can never take a Sunday off. No, it just means that you must learn to be a responsible leader and cover your bases before you take a vacation so that things run smoothly while you are away.
And then there is another dangerous attitude that sneaks in after a while, even with responsible leaders, if we are not careful. That is when a leader allows the unfaithfulness of others to effect them –the reverse of what’s supposed to be happening. So often, the enthusiasm and faithfulness of a leader will slowly decay, and then they develop an attitude of, “No one else is coming anyway; why should I prepare or even come?” Or, “What difference does it (or my availability or service) make anyway?” Maybe you have even thought that yourself, but is it right?
Let’s look at what Jesus did, or better yet, let’s look into his thinking. From Romans we see what happened with one man, Adam’s, act of disobedience, but thankfully, “through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous (Rom. 5:19).” So certainly, the obedience of one makes a difference, but that still doesn’t specifically address the difference the availability of one can make. Jesus said, “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be sanctified (john 17:19).” Now, for me, even though I knew what sanctify meant, I still didn’t get it. Until in my study Bible, I noticed a subscript by the word sanctify and sanctified with this alternate translation, “set apart for God’s service.” So let’s read it this way, “For them, I set myself apart for God’s service, that they may be set apart for God’s service.” For who? He set himself apart for God’s service for us! What would happen if Jesus had developed the selfish attitude above? I don’t even like to think about it, but one thing for certain, we sure wouldn’t be here talking about service to God.
Have you doubted the difference or impact you are making lately? If so, you must recognize who is behind the suggestion and cast it down immediately. Speaking of thought suggestion and selfishness, on the way to the cross, Peter decided to rebuke Jesus. Then he got the famous, “Get behind me Satan” rebuke. In one translation, at the heart of what Jesus said to Peter was this, “You aren’t thinking the way God thinks (Matt. 16:23).” If you are struggling, and we all do at times, ask God to help you think about your ministry like God thinks about it. And know from Jesus’ example, that the obedience of one does makes a difference and so does your availability for God!