Daddies Nurture, They Don't Own
I’ll give you an example of what you were just saying that I think will bridge what we’ve been talking about. Jesus had the five thousand sit down in a particular way. What was that, do you remember?
Fifties and hundreds.
That’s right. Let’s say those five thousand people followed Him around for another day after they were fed the loaves and fishes. Would He have them sit down in fifties again? He might or He might not. Would the people automatically look around and say, “Who was sitting next to me yesterday?” No one would be thinking, “We should all be in the same groups of fifties!”
It was no problem to break up into fifties and hundreds so that they would have a way to distribute the food. Some organization was fine, but it was organic and temporary to meet a specific need. No one said, “Oh, I’m part of this particular group of fifty from now on.” No one decided to give the fifty a name and appoint a leader, a co-leader, an assistant leader, and a song leader. And then tomorrow everyone was supposed to sit with exactly the same fifty people.
So was breaking up into groups of fifty and one hundred okay? Sure it was, but they weren’t defined by that. Rather, they used it. In a family, if you work on a project, you do not then become, “The Family of So-and-So Project” and everybody does exactly the same job every time. Nobody starts wearing a title and taking a role, “Oh, that’s my job. I’m the one who sticks the stickers on the paper. I’m the sticker person so call me Sticker Mike.”
It doesn’t have to turn into something with repeatability and titles and doing things exactly the same way every time. Instead, it’s men “full of the Holy Spirit and full of wisdom.” Those were the daddies, just like in the family illustration you gave. Those were the ones who said, “Let’s do this project and here’s a way to get it done this time.” When the five thousand needed to be fed, Jesus was the Daddy and said, “Let’s sit down in fifties and hundreds.” It was not, “For the next month, you are part of group number 1 and you are part of group number 2, and I’m going to assign a leader for each of the groups of fifty.”
We have many, many people in the church at Indianapolis and we don’t all fit in one house or even in ten houses. But nobody assumes or functions as though they are a part of house A or B or C. Rather, everyone is flowing with relationships. Tonight some people are invited over to this certain house for dinner. Thirty other people are over there and they end up talking or praying or worshipping.
There is an organic dynamic about the flowing of relationships. But no one thinks, “I’m always a part of this certain group.” We can’t all fit in one place, so we find ourselves in smaller numbers in different homes. But it doesn’t define us. We don’t find our identity in a certain place or certain groups and we don’t have to do it that way the next time.
Here is another example that I think is very much in keeping with what you said about organism and organization. One night we went two by two to fifty different taverns or bars in our city in order to share Jesus. So how did that get handled? Did we say, “Everybody go two by two to any tavern you’d like to go to”? That wouldn’t work, would it? People wouldn’t even know where the taverns are.
So, somebody with the gift of leadership printed out maps of the taverns’ locations, and then another brother with a gift of shepherding said, “I think these two brothers would work well together because I know them and their strengths and weaknesses. And these other two brothers would be good together too. Here are the maps and you guys go here and here and here. We’ll all meet back together once we’re done.”
There’s organization in that, but no one became “the person in charge of the bar on Maple Street” and now that’s “his ministry” and he’s “the pastor of that tavern.”
On another day maybe we would go to some other place. Maybe we would go to religious facilities to share Jesus instead of to bars. The point is that it’s not chaotic; it can never be chaotic. The organism of Jesus does bring order and leadership and a smooth flow that isn’t chaotic where “every man does what is right in his own eyes.” It is not, “I’ll have my own relationship with God and He’s going to lead me into what I’m supposed to do.” That’s not Jesus’ way. There is always a mutual dependence whether it involves a whole city of believers or different groups of believers within that city.
Some semblance of order and communication makes perfect sense, but we’re not defined or enslaved by them—we use them. It’s like Paul said about possessions. We have possessions, but we are not enslaved by them. Having possessions is okay. It is not unspiritual to have possessions. David was the richest man ever born on planet Earth and he was a man after God’s own heart. He wasn’t a sinner because of his wealth nor was he a sinner when he left with a rag on his head and had nothing.
Paul said that it doesn’t make any difference whether we are rich or poor. It’s okay to have possessions, just don’t ever be possessed by them. So here’s the trick: how do we use organization without ever becoming a slave to it in some external way? The answer is, “Choose from among you men full of the Holy Ghost and full of wisdom.” That’s what will help men be Daddies in the Family of God and help us see what works for today. Tomorrow they may realize it’s not working so well, so they will do some other thing instead. We work together with the gifts of God and the revelation of God to use organization without being controlled or defined by it.
God wants leadership, but He also has to have the ability to sit it down. If we build a system that puts someone in place and then cements them into place, then it’s very difficult for God to sit that person down. In that case, organization would become our definition rather than a tool, and that’s where the problems come in.
I very much appreciate you mentioning the Daddy illustration because we need Daddies. But daddies don’t control and they don’t own. Daddies nurture and decrease so that their children can increase. It’s moving and dynamic as opposed to a structure that controls the children in an absolute and certain way. They never get a chance to grow up, because the daddies won’t get out of their way. So that was a wonderful illustration. Thanks for sharing that.