Administration. I chose the Exodus scripture because it is a wonderful example of Administration: Jethro helping Moses be organized. For the first time in 400 years the nation of Israel is independent, in fact, when they went to Egypt they were only a large family... God intended us to be together… as the Kendall Seeds of Hope Campus is launched, a team is being formed… I am not certain what God has in mind in the Foothills, but this flatlander is excited! I am excited about Sumas, I am excited about the Foothills, we are on the Front Row seat. Sometime, ask Jeff about Kendall ~ he is so excited to have a Front Row seat.
We need each other. God is going to use a variety of people with diverse gifts to make a difference in his kingdom work. Only a few are called to play piano in the same church for 70 years. Billie says she’s enjoyed all of it… but her fingers are tired now. But guess what! I don’t believe for a minute Billie is done. We are going to make her the chief hugger of children…maybe her chief gift is encouragement… As you discover and use your spiritual gift, you are sitting in the Front Row of God’s Kingdom work. I am scattering this series of messages over several years so we can periodically be reminded of the importance of Spiritual Gifts. God wires us all so different. Some have the gift of administration. To you, administration may sound dull, but to those who have the gift, there is nothing more exciting than to get down into the nuts and bolts of organizing an event, a program, thinking through the details. I think I might be one of these boring people.
I went to a concert once, it was the year before I was married, Tim VandenBos was my roommate, we lived not too far from downtown Seattle, along the east side of Lake Union. It was in the old Kingdome… The concert: the Rolling Stones. I thought Mick Jagur was ancient then… it was kind of hinted that this was a farewell tour… the truth is I hadn’t heard of the Rolling Stones until this concert, but there I was, a packed Kingdome; I sat in the aisle watching Mick Jagur stick out his tongue …
The other day Nettie Bos wanted to see me post a picture on Facebook of me making apple sauce, so I did. Greg Cowan posted asking if I used math to make applesauce. It made me laugh. Mr. Cowan was my longtime math teacher in high school. I was good at Algebra. He knows my mind. I said, of course. My mind in always calculating. Organizing. Thinking.
God has wired us so we all think a bit different from others. Certain things get you excited. A good garage sale can make your day. Maybe it’s children. Maybe it’s teaching. Maybe you are hardwired to love sharing the story of Jesus with others…
Every group needs somebody to pull the details together. A better way to spend less energy and accomplish more. The gift of administration is the God-given ability to give direction and make decisions on behalf of others that result in efficient operation and accomplishment of goals. Administration includes the ability to organize people, things, information, finances, etc. Often the mark of an administrator is the ability to accomplish things in a "fitting and orderly way" (1 Cor.14:40).
Moses desperately needed a Jethro. Here are some of the outstanding things about Jethro in Ex. 18 and his obvious gift for organizing things.
A. Jethro listens. Ex. 10:8.
B God is praised above all else… Ex. 10:18.
C. Jethro watches the patterns in action… Ex. 10:13… Jethro has listened, he understands what Moses envisions, and now as an administrator, his passon is to improve the efficiency of what Moses envisions. One person compared an administrator to the pilot of a plane. The destination is set by the owner, but it’s the captain’s job to set the course, instruct the crew, guide the vessel to the next city. Sometimes the captain provides his own wrinkle to the flight. those with the gift of administration have their own personality... True announcements on airplanes …
"As we prepare for takeoff, please make sure your tray tables and seat backs are fully upright in their most uncomfortable position."
"Folks, we have reached our cruising altitude now, so I am going to switch the seat belt sign off. Feel free to move about as you wish, but please stay inside the plane till we land... it’s a bit cold outside, and if you walk on the wings it affects the flight pattern."
"As you exit the plane, please make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses."
"Last one off the plane must clean it."
Another flight attendant’s comment on a less-than-perfect landing: "We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal."
God uses all kinds of people in pilot roles, administrative roles, guiding from point A to point b. Improving the flight for everyone. I love a pilot with a sense of humor. An administrator makes the journey rewarding. The church needs administrators to safely fly the plane. Linda Moe is stepping down as Sunday School Superintendent. We as a church have been blessed. I don’t want just anyone to take her place, I want a strong Christian with the gift for Administration, like the captain of a ship, guiding the Christian Education. And like a pilot with a sense of humor, there will be plenty of room for the person to add their own personality…
D. Jethro sorts through what he has heard and seen, he understands the goal, he sees the problem, and he devises a better solution: Ex. 18:17-18…he outlines his solution, and then concludes, Ex. 18:23.
E. Jethro does not presume to be smarter than God, it’s all God. The phrase in Ex. 18:23: “and God directs you.” In my mind, I have a thousand thoughts that never come to pass. The other day as Seeds of Hope was getting ready to move from JJ Fryes to the Legion, Denny and I were outdoing ourselves with visions for the new building… we both know it’s ok if everything is modified as we go along, but it’s not hard to see.. Administrators always want it to be God …as more information is gained, plans change, as God provides a new situation, different details emerge and its all ok.
F. Jethro emphasizes other people have to be trusted. He tells Moses he is going to get burned out (Ex. 18:18) and others are just as capable as he is (READ Ex. 18:21). Find the people who are gifted in their area and set them in place – in the case of Jethro and Moses, wise trusted people who can act as arbiters. Pastor’s are the worst as a group wanting to do things themselves, not trusting others… but it is human nature. In the short run it is easier to just do everything, who knows why Moses thought he could be the single judge with a million plus people in the community. Could be ego, I think it’s more likely he just never thought of it…
In S.F. one couple did most of the work, and used to complain nobody else showed up to help with improvement projects. The first time we had a project I discovered why…we painted the social hall. it wasn’t long before the wife had the brush out of my hand and finished the job because I wasn’t doing it good enough. Nobody else could meet their standards. The irony is that if you can just accept other people, empower them, trust themAdministrators trust others, Jethro is saying to Moses, you aren’t God, other people are gifted. A lot of pastors need to hear this message… We need everyone to work in their area of giftedness, we need people to….
Not everyone has the gift of administration, but some do…DO YOU HAVE THIS GIFT? Jethro did, Moses did not. God put them together. A few questions…
- When things are poorly organized do you get frustrated and want to help fix things?
- Can you bring order out of chaos?
- Do you naturally organize your life, schedule, finances, priorities, etc.?
- Do you become energized working on tasks and projects?
- Do things like efficiency and promptness matter more to you than most people?
- Do things like spreadsheets, budgets, organizational charts and software, files, highlighters, and label makers make you happy?
One last point. I believe we as a church are bigger than what we see within the walls of this building. Like all the spiritual gifts, they are meant to be for Kingdom work. If you are a detailed person that loves to steer the ship and help accomplish the goal, you may well be wired to get be part of the Clothesline, develop a men’s fellowship, to step in as S.S. Superintendent, and so many more internal focuses, but I hope more of you are called to help people in the community and to go out, it may be a family that can’t quite get the paperwork together to apply for assistance, to navigate through the perils of life, to organize something for the city, or one of the other wonderful people blessing organizations.
The Lord gives all of his people a spiritual gift. When you use your gift in his service, in the niche he provides for you, there is nothing more exciting. Some are called to be administrators, like the pilot of an airplane, sifting through the charts and the instruments to get safely to the destination. When you use your gift, it’s like sitting in the Front Row seat of God’s Kingdom Work. Amen.