This week, I returned to the book of Acts for my devotional reading. I try to make it a habit in my life to read the Bible and spend some time with God every day. I wish I could tell you that I'm consistent and the epitome of discipline, but that would not be true. Still, I take this commitment seriously and know that if I'm not spending time with God, praying and listening and reading the Bible, then something in my life will not be right.
So, yesterday, I was in Acts. Chapter 1. I've read Acts many times. It's a fun read, action packed, lots of very exciting things going on. It's not hard reading. But there are a lot of questions that beg to be asked, and yesterday I saw one that I hadn't really asked before. You may even hear it posed in a message some weekend at PCC, but I thought I'd throw it out here.
The situation is that Judas Iscariot is dead. He was one of Jesus' 12 disciples, the one who betrayed Jesus, and he killed himself. Jesus has been crucified and resurrected, and the other 11 guys are trying to figure out what to do next. Peter quotes from the Psalmist "May another take his place of leadership." (Ps 109:8) and concludes that someone has to replace Judas.
And then, they do the oddest thing: They cast lots. Roll dice. Draw cards. Get out the Ouija board.
And nobody ever says anything about it! No one raises their hand and says, "Hey, this is a little weird. Shouldn't we just talk to the candidates and discern which one we feel like God would have us choose?"
Perhaps that's the problem: We use feelings and mix them up with God's voice. Perhaps the 'casting of lots' is a more objective way to hear from God. I mean, there is no emotion involved in drawing straws. The 'short straw' doesn't care if I like you, doesn't look at you, doesn't evaluate your accent or check out your car or your kids.
I'm not advocating that we return to a more 'fortune teller' style way of figuring out God's will. But I do think that the more I can remove my personal stuff from the discernment of what God wants would result in significantly better decisions in my life and leadership.
And I would submit the same is true for you, too.