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Here is an old story that speaks today. A wealthy widow in a rural mid-western town approached the young pastor of a small church with an unusual gift offer. She wanted to donate a chandelier to the church in honor of her late husband.

The excited pastor called a church board meeting to discuss the gift. The meeting lasted for over three hours with all sides of the proposal being considered. The pastor and two of the Board members wanted to receive the gift with much gratitude. But the third Board member had said nothing and frowned throughout the deliberations. Before the vote was taken, the pastor asked him to summarize his opinion.

He said, “I have two non-negotiable reasons why we should not receive the chandelier. First, that widow does not attend our church. Second, no one in our little church even knows how to play a chandelier!”

Over the years, I have chaired various committees. Occasionally, someone acts like that third board member. They initially view new proposals from the position of anger, disgust, and suspicion. Potential initiatives are often buried under unrelated arguments and partisan issues that divide the group.

Obstinate people remind me of the prophecy the Angel of the Lord gave to Hagar regarding the son she would soon bear. Genesis 16:12 (ESV) – “He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone!” Of all the great Scripture songs, no one has ever used the words of Genesis 16:12 for the lyrics. If you write it, I just may sing it at the start of every future committee meeting. Church decisions need open minds and hearts. The world is changing and we must be open to whatever the Lord brings our way.

Are you a contrary person like that third board member? My Dad would often ask, “Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?” We need more people that are part of the solution. The local church today is in turmoil. The leaders must find the Wisdom of God, the Mind of Christ, and the Unity of the Holy Spirit in all decisions. Acting out of ignorance or bias will not promote the Cause of Christ.

James 1:5 – “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach.”

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