The Work We Do, and How Others See It

June 21, 2011

A few months ago I led a Bible Study group of four men through chapter 24 of the book of Acts in the Bible. 

Thus, I am dropping some thoughts in on you from that study from what I shared with those men that morning as it relates to leadership. In order to get the most out of this blog post, you will need to grab a Bible and read chapter 24 of Acts. If you don't have a Bible you can read Acts 24 here.

In chapter 24 of Acts we see Paul (again) being accused and punished because of the good work that he is doing to spread the gospel throughout the Roman Empire and Asia. The punishment and imprisonment Paul is experiencing is not because he actually did something wrong, it is because other people observing what he is doing think he is breaking laws and cause chaos. That punishment is coming because other leaders are looking at what he is doing, they are seeing it differently, and they are causing Paul problems because of it.

At that time (around 59 AD according to the NLT Study Bible) there were two groups of religious leaders: the Sadduccees and Pharisees. Each of them had their own beliefs about right and wrong among the Christian religion at that time. And most of them were well intentioned and well meaning people who wanted to honor God. The only problem was there were not doing as good of a job as they could have.

The way Paul was doing ministry and worshiping God was in-congruent with how the Sadducees and Pharisees believed it was supposed to be done at that time in their culture. And because of that, it caused them to see Paul's work as destructive and chaotic.

Why did these so called "religious leaders" see Paul's work as wrong? Two reasons the religious leaders saw his work as wrong:

  • They have different belief systems about what was right and wrong in God's eyes
  • Paul was challenging the status quo they had established

It is up for debate whether the religious leaders truly believed what they were claiming in the courts they where hoping Paul would be convicted in. Some believe they were lying and making things up in order to have Paul imprisoned or killed, while other people (myself included) believe the religious leaders were attempting to call it like they saw it. The only issue was that they were looking at the situation of Paul with a different belief system and idea of how things should be and stay.

You and I, as leaders are going to do good works to serve others. But, other so called "leaders" are going to disagree. When they do disagree, we need to stand up to them. Because even though the work we do is good, others might not see it that way.

Question: What is an example of a time in your life where you were doing a good work but others did not see it that way? 

Christopher L. Scott

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Christopher Scott is Small Groups Pastor at Rocky Hilly Community Church in Exeter, CA. He has more than ten years of experience leading volunteers, running nonprofit programs, and teaching the Bible in small group settings. He holds a bachelor's degree from Fresno Pacific University and master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.

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