A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson
“And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” –Acts 1:26 (NKJV)
Succession planning is an imperative in corporate as well as church leadership. It really is an imperative in family planning and life mapping too.
God, through Moses, prepared Joshua to pick up the reins of leadership when Moses transitioned. Elijah prepared Elisha.
After Jesus Christ was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas overcome with guilt, intentionally and permanently absented himself from the other apostles. In Acts 1:15-26, the disciples, 120 of them, then led by Peter, deliberated about filling the vacancy among the apostles. There were two criteria for the candidates who would be considered. These men had to be long- term followers of Christ. They had to be witnesses of all that Jesus had done. From His baptism by John the Baptist, to Christ’s arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, the crucifixion, the resurrection and the ascension, the replacement for Judas had to be one who had witnessed all of it. They prayerfully submitted their votes for Justus and Matthias. Matthias was chosen to be the new 12th Apostle. This group of 120 disciples, 11 of them Apostles, knew each other so well that they could pick two men out, one of whom would make his new role the personal fulfillment of God’s expected end for him.
This prompted me to think about my social network. Most of us are believers and have strong testimonies and spiritual experiences. But, if I could not testify, who would I want to stand in my place and share his or her experiences with God through Jesus Christ? If you were transported back to that moment in time and were a participant, who in your network would you vote for?
If the answer to that question is hard, and you can’t find two names among your many friends, that may be a divine signal that you need more godly people in your network. If your friends were similarly transported back to that moment in time, do you think that any of them would nominate you? If not, maybe that is a sign that it is time for some focused spiritual growth.
The plan of the living God marches on the feet of determined, delivered saints who are growing in grace and in their witness of and to the love of God. Are you marching among them? If a leader in your fellowship of faith fell to death, failure or crisis, would you be willing to step up like Justus and Matthias were?
Who do you follow? Are you ready to pick up their mantle? Who will follow you? Are you preparing them for success? What legacy of faith and imprint of ministry are you leaving, day by day? Let’s pray and ask God to focus us and facilitate our growth as we help others in their preparation to serve.
Let’s Pray: Dear God, thank You for the life that You have given us. Help us to make our time on Earth matter and our influence count in the lives of others. If we are seniors, help us prepare the younger ones by our example. If we are young, help us to find meaningful mentors who will prepare us for our time to shine. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
Chaplain Paul Anderson served for 20 years as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Over 26 years of active duty, he was promoted through the ranks from Seaman Apprentice (E2) to his final rank as Commander (O5) in the Chaplain’s Corps.
Prior to his Naval career, Chaplain Anderson pastored in the Allegheny East and Potomac Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists. His undergraduate preparation for ministry was completed at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.
He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees: a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in Michigan, a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Masters of Sacred Theology in Religion and Culture from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry degree was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.
Chaplain Anderson also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also holds certifications in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Civil Mediation, Alternative Workplace Dispute Resolution, Temperament Analysis, Marriage Enrichment, Workforce Diversity, and is a certified Life Coach.
You may connect with Chaplain Anderson via email at this address, email@example.com.