5 Reasons We Search with Our Eyes Closed

Two questions I received last year: 1) Do preachers call you when they are considering coming to the church where you are an interim? 2) Why do we too often not seek “outside help” to gain a fresh perspective on a congregation’s situation?

Answers to the questions:

  1. Do preachers call you when they are considering coming to the church where you are an interim? Rarely. In twelve years working with eight churches, I can count on the fingers of one hand the preachers considering and being considered who’ve called. That’s been one of my surprises.
  2. My guess is preachers and elders fail to get “outside help” for similar reasons.

Why I’ve Failed to Call

  1. I didn’t want to take the time or spend money to get information that might be helpful. Professional people often charge for advice. It might cost to drive to meet with someone or pay them to meet with our group. Consultation may involve several hours. You can save money and time now by not getting your oil changed. Long-term, it may be a good investment.
  2. I already had my mind made up. My observation: when people check references or ask for advice, they want the person to assure them they’ve made a good decision. Few people who’ve called me checking references asked for the person’s weak points.
  3. I didn’t want to get confused. When I read reviews on Amazon.com, I get confused because most items have several 5-star and 1-star reviews. Which is right? Why can’t one person tell me what to do and relieve my anxiety? I think confusion is a good (necessary) step in decision-making. But confusion is uncomfortable and I like to be comfortable.
  4. I was embarrassed to ask difficult questions I needed to ask. To gain insight, I may need to know answers to embarrassing questions, then check answers with people who see it from a different angle. What if people are offended when I ask what I need to know? What if they ask me similar questions? What if they quit considering me if I ask hard questions? Maybe it’ll be better if I stay ignorant, hope for the best, and wonder why it often turns out unfavorably.
  5. I didn’t want to change the way I was doing something. If I get new information, I may have to work harder, get training in an area where I’m an amateur, or do something I’d rather not do.

Solomon’s advice for getting wisdom:

  • You get wisdom by working for wisdom as you work for money, and by searching for wisdom as you search for buried treasure.

My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God (Proverbs 2:1-5, English Standard Version).

  • You need to talk with more than one person.

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety (Proverbs 11:14).

Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed (Proverbs 15:22).

A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might, for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory (Proverbs 24:5, 6).

How can we encourage ourselves to get outside ourselves and look for someone(s) who might know more than we know?

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Jerrie Barber
Disciple of Jesus, husband, grandfather, preacher, barefoot runner, ventriloquist

6 Responses to “5 Reasons We Search with Our Eyes Closed

  • Roger Leonard
    2 years ago

    I would add that some elderships eyes are closed because the internal church problems, including within the eldership, are much worse than they perceive. Why call for help if you don’t know you need it?

    • Roger,

      Thank you for that observation.

      Likewise, if everything that’s wrong is the elders’ fault, the preacher doesn’t need to do anything. All you have to do is find the perfect eldership, and you’ll live happily ever after.

  • Susan Michelfelder
    2 years ago

    Could this possibly be a male thing? Like not wanting to stop and ask for directions when you get lost on a trip?

    • Susan,

      Ouch!!!

      That’s what you get when you start letting everyone comment — including women.

      I’d never thought of that. I wonder if that’s a male thing?

      Thank you, Susan, for your excellent, and unexpected, observation.

  • Travis Irwin
    2 years ago

    Excellent. Many churches hope that problems will resolve themselves. While it is true that some minor issues can and do resolve themselves, this is rare and there is always a residue of the issue left behind. The Bible and God value total honesty and humility and spiritual growth and relationships.

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