David or Absalom?

A little while ago, I was reflecting on team ministry, the issues that come up within a team, and how jealousy and envy tears apart a team.
Jealousy can make us do crazy stuff.
I can argue that the Pharisees were jealous of Jesus and that’s what drove them to kill him.
I can argue that jealousy had a part in destroying the (always overrated) Lakers with Shaq and Kobe.
And I blogged about Saul and what jealousy did to him with David.

But what if we found ourselves in the position of David?
Doing no wrong, but seemingly attacked in everything we do?
I think it’s safe to say that many of us have found ourselves in that situation.
I know I have. I’m doing everything right. I’m doing everything I’m told to do. I’m getting a positive feedback, but the powers to be, they’re just not happy with me.

I knew an associate pastor who had a miserable time working with the senior. She was a great speaker and the church really liked her, but she always clashed with the senior. Maybe it was a difference of personalities.
Slowly, all her ideas are being shot down, and her responsibilities are either being taken away or the senior pastor was micromanaging them.

At this point, I feel that we have two options. We can react like David or we can react like Absalom.
The friend unfortunately took the Absalom route.

When Absalom was planning his coup d’état, he would stand outside of the city gates and talk to people who wanted to see the king. Absalom would respond: “hey, man. (Okay obviously this is an interpretation.) What you’re saying, that’s a legit problem. You need to have your voice heard. But, the king won’t be able to hear you. You know, if I were a judge, I’d make sure that you and everyone else would have their voices heard, and not only that, get the justice that you deserve!”
Eventually Absalom “stole the hearts of men of Israel.”

Have you ever met with a parishioner and their sole purpose of meeting you was to complain about another staff member?
When there’s tension between you and that staff member, I’d like to think that there is enormous temptation to bite on the bait and start agreeing with parishioner or offering up your own complaints.

I know of another associate pastor who went around visiting church members and agreeing with their negative comments about the senior pastor, and even offering up his own and having complaint sessions about the pastor. Eventually, the associate left the church and took half of the church with him to plant a new one. 

I remember Paul’s charge for to ‘keep unity’ and I think that’s something we should always keep in mind. 

 

David on the other hand, he refused to lay a hand on Saul. There are two incidents where David could have very easily killed Saul, but David said that he will never lay a finger on God’s anointed. 
Maybe this is an old school way of looking at this, or even a fundamentalist way… but no matter how incompetent a senior pastor may be, I think it’s wise to remember that it was God who placed him/her there.
Even though David never laid a hand on Saul, things eventually played out and David still got what was given to him.

I think it’s the wiser choice to follow David’s path.
There’s no need to add gasoline to the fire by voicing out your displeasure just to feel vindicated.
And believe you me, that last sentence was meant for me more than anyone else.

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