You Can’t Do It All

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.

Acts 3:1-8

Many ministers feel they have to do everything they possibly can to take care of the needs of the people in their church. It is a mindset that frequently leads to ministry burnout. It also leads, falsely, to members thinking that every problem they have should be dealt with by their pastor.

In Acts 3, Peter and John enter the Temple in Jerusalem and encounter a man who has been lame for several decades. He positioned himself in the best location possible to ply on the emotions of people so they’d give him some money. The best place to do that was the Temple – so those coming to seek God’s favor could demonstrate to everyone including God how good they are.

Jesus went to the Temple a lot; like all good Jews, he was at the Temple every Passover and he most certainly passed by this lame guy. But Jesus never healed him. Wait a minute! Jesus didn’t take the initiative to heal this guy and take care of this need? Why?

We don’t know for sure: some will say that Jesus was “leaving it for Peter” or that the guy never expressed an interest in being healed or some other reason. The interesting thing to me is that not even Jesus got around to doing every single thing that he was capable of doing – he didn’t feel every hungry person, he didn’t heal every sick person, he didn’t remove every demon, etc. Jesus left many, many things undone.

And if Jesus with all of his God-power didn’t do everything while he was on earth, then who are we, mere humans, to think that we can do everything? We can’t and we shouldn’t think we can. We’re going to leave a lot undone, and that is just fine. Ministers should never feel guilty about not doing everything; instead, ministers should do the most important things in front of them.

Just as Jesus prioritized the critical things he needed to accomplish, ministers must do the same. The things that a minister cannot do should be left for others or even left undone. Focus on what is most important, just like Jesus did.

Lead On!