I think about situations in my life in the past. When I was first in the ministry, I was blessed to have a boss that took me with him and showed me how he did things. But then, when he thought I had the hang of it, he kind of gradually turned loose of me and let me do things on my own. He wasn’t always standing over my shoulder, making sure I did it just the way he would. He had a sense of letting me learn to do it my own way. I flourished under that. The reason that I was so appreciative of that was that the next boss I had wasn’t so much that way. I kind of got a wake-up call on how good the first boss was. But my first boss didn’t really care how I did it, as long as the work was getting done and it was done in a satisfactory manner – kind of a non-controlling kind of guy.
I had the same experience a few years ago when I went to work for a mental health clinic. I got to set my own schedule, use my own approaches. They wanted to know what kind of clients I wanted to work with – always open to suggestion. I really appreciate that. But some bosses aren’t like that, are they? Some are just very controlling and have to have everything done their way.
Let’s go to Acts 15, and verse 37, and read an example out of the Bible. It says:
Acts 15:37 – Now Barnabas wanted to take with them – he and Paul were going to go on a tour – John, called Mark, but Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia, and not gone with them to the work. So, you know, the old hard-liner Paul kind of disrespected this guy, because he didn’t appear to be as committed as the way he thought about it. Barnabas, on the other hand, wasn’t so dictatorial about it. And there arose a sharp disagreement. Okay, so what do you do when you have a disagreement with somebody – in the family or in work? They separated from each other. And Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, and Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of God.
So, this sounds bad, but, if you think about it, neither one of them tried to control the other. They just separated. They had a disagreement about it, but their solution was to each go their own way, so they could each do as they saw fit. And wasn’t that a really good thing? They had peace, even though they disagreed about this issue. If you can’t work together, better to work separately. I think that’s a scripture, isn’t it? Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Sure enough. Paul had reservations about this young man. Barnabas didn’t. Paul didn’t want to take him. Barnabas did. So they just had to figure out what to do. Rather than have a knock-down drag-out, they just decided to split ways for awhile. They got back together later. After it was all cooled off, things worked out better. We’ll talk more about that later.
I was telling a friend of mine recently – still talking about control here – about a woman who offered to help us at our Feast one year – at our festival site. We’re one of the independent churches of God groups. She’s in one of the organized groups. Her pastor in her organization told her that, if she helped us, then she would never do anything in her congregation again. So there’s the control thing going. It’s kind of embarrassing, really, to think about that. So my friend asked me if I knew the difference between genius and stupidity. I said, “Probably not.” He said, “Well, there’s a limit to genius.” The urge to control others eventually makes us all look foolish in the end, because we can’t do it. It doesn’t work.