With every senate, parliament, student body, or school board election, there are appointments to positions of authority. As seems true for every elected official who has the authority to appoint, the special positions go to those who were most supportive during the election. History has shown that sometimes the process is successful, but it is more likely that the people in new positions are mediocre at best. Success is dependent on how closely the appointee matches the requirements of the job and has little to do with one’s performance during campaigning.
One only has to look at Trumps appointments to positions, let alone the way our parliaments appoint those to lead Ministries. Do we appoint people to lead health who have a background in health and know something of what is needed? Or does this have problems? I remember reading about someone who was appointed to agriculture in the USA who had a background in farming and appeared to be a natural fit for the appointed position. His credibility was severely affected when he discussed the invasion of fire ants into the United States.
On national television, he sincerely talked about the problem and was apparently doing an adequate job of sharing information. If any of you have ever been the recipient of a swarm of fire ants, you know that you will do everything in your power to avoid the pain associated with their anger. The secretary had what appeared to be a glass aquarium sitting on a table before him as he spoke. During the presentation, he removed the top and continued to discuss the severity of the sting from the tiny creatures. He casually dipped his hands into the mound of loose dirt inside the aquarium. What he found was not the sweet nibbles of tiny fish, but the anguishing fire of hundreds of tiny ant’s intent on protecting their place in the world.
As programmed by nature, the ants did just as they are expected to do. There was chaos on the stage as the Secretary and his aides quickly began brushing the tiny insects from the target of their wrath. Even when a person is perfectly appointed to a position, there is a risk of failing or exposing ourselves to pain from our actions to fulfil the obligation. In John 15:16-17, Jesus makes a crucial appointment. He appoints his disciples—people who love and follow him—and, more important, you and me, to the highest appointed position in Christendom. Jesus said, “I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that God as parent will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”
Jesus said these words just after he had assured his listeners that they are his friends. He rejects the word servant because the servant does not know what his master is doing. Instead, he calls them friends because he had already shared with them everything that he had learned from God. Jesus’ admonition that he had chosen them and considered them friends was a natural lead into their appointment to live a life of good works. I find it interesting that Jesus appoints followers to love others and to do good works toward others.
It seems to me that Jesus was encouraging the appointed to find joy in themselves and to love their own mind, body, and soul so that they might love others. Most of us can find much pride in our accomplishments and in our gifts to the church and community. The nature of human beings is often to tell God why we cannot fulfil the requirements of our appointment. People who continually say they cannot meet the expectations of the job will surely fail.
We are called to accept any appointment with a can-do attitude followed by gratitude and when we accept our appointment with the attitude of gratitude and maintain complete faith in God, we will be successful in our appointed role. I believe that Jesus expects us to be sensible in our approach to the appointment—to first love ourselves so that we can love others, never putting ourselves or those we serve in harm’s way. We must know the signs that we have caused pain and suffering to others and to ourselves. We are expected to avoid dipping our hands into the fiery stings of failing to serve. Now, if only all our leaders, particularly our politicians could follow such a call.