Vol.XV No.III Pg.8
May 1978

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

The local team was being slaughtered on the football field. The quarterback was dumped repeatedly, and if the ball got out of his hands the receiver seldom left his tracks. But the home fans believed in their favorite runner, and every time their boys went into a huddle, grandstand advice was plentiful. They pleaded, over and over, "Let Leroy have the ball! Let Leroy have the ball'.!"

Finally, after a severe crushing, a lone figure arose from the huddle, cupped his hands toward the fans, and shouted, "Leroy say he don't want the ball'."

This old story came to mind recently as I punched home a lesson on the priesthood of believers. There were nods of approval as I showed the error of clergy-laity distinctions. All seemed to agree that each saint had "equal rights" before God. Each could study the Bible for himself. Each was equally "called" to teach others. But when I began to remind them of responsibilities, according to ability and opportunity, I could almost hear the call from the playing field: "Leroy say he don't want the ball!"

There are scores of half-dead churches scattered about, monuments to the folly of "mutual edification" by brethren who would not prepare themselves to "carry the ball." Other congregations are wrecked by "equal rights" campaigners, envious of those who are leaders, but who would not "carry the ball" of responsibility if given the opportunity. The glory" of ball carrier seems not so bright from the bottom of a brutal pile-up.

Yes, there are men in the pulpit, editing papers, overseeing churches, who are unsuited to the work. Sometimes they are put there in desperation, as though an "opening" qualified. But in the absence of excuse, when they should be replaced, and experienced men are available, it is often difficult to persuade "qualified" (?) men to take the job. (In my book, the man who feels no responsibility to God and His work, has highly questionable "qualifications.") We want it done, but "Let John do it." We run the game from our TV chairs.

In a church of workers there is usually little complaint about overseers or ball carriers. The mutual desire for results overwhelms petty differences, and leaders are spurred to greater visions by solid support. Leroy might even want to carry the ball, if he had better blockers.