Those with the redemptive gift of Teacher are known for their loyalty to a leader, but Dr. Luke set the bar unbelievably high in his elegant relationship with Paul.
Notice the nuanced pronouns in Acts 16:7-10 NIV.
When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."
After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
“They” became “we.”
Clearly, Luke joined the team in Troas and traveled with them to Philippi. We see the pronouns change again when Paul and Silas left Philippi without Luke.
Dr. Luke was so committed to honoring the Kingdom story line of the book of Acts, and the larger-than-life work done by the Apostle Paul, that he did not announce himself in the pages of Scripture in any direct way. He was determined not to distract from the primacy of Paul’s historic transition, taking the gospel from the Middle East to Europe.
This is a stellar level of character, of emotional groundedness and many other good things in Dr. Luke. This is exactly the kind of man you would want on your team. Paul certainly thought the world of him as we see in other passages.
So why did they part ways so soon?
Scripture is as silent about his leaving as it is about his coming. But I have a theory. I suspect he left this rich relationship and the moment in history when the gospel came to Europe, because it was not his assignment.
There would have been no grace on the partnership if he had continued with Paul and Silas.
He may have had an assignment for a few days. He might have brought his larger European exposure and experience to the table to assist Paul in making the transition from the Middle East to Europe. He may have just been traveling through and stopped to say hi to a friend.
We don’t know.
We do know that Dr. Luke had an assignment and knew that no matter how good his relationship was with Paul, and how dramatic and exciting it would be to run with Paul, that was not his assignment.
The soul chemistry between two people with high character is no substitute for the grace of God being on an assignment.
And sometimes, our good friends simply don’t belong on a given team, because God has not assigned them to this project.
Neither friendship nor FOMO are valid reasons for someone being on a ministry team when God did not assign them to it, and when God is not providing His grace.
It is quite difficult for a leader to decline the services and the companionship of a trusted, mature friend, when they want to come on board.
It is even more difficult to get the job done, when God is mad at you for putting fear of man ahead of fear of the Lord.
Copyright by Arthur Burk
WOW! I have been going through this with a person that I've mentored for the past 5-6 years. Just before I left for my snowbird trip to Florida, we were trying to put together a group of people to introduce Redemptive Gifts to them. I knew the Lord did not want me to support this since I was going to Florida. My friend was not at all happy that I would not be involved with her, she took it personally. Being separated during this time has been very freeing for me with my personal relationship with the Lord. Thank you for your wisdom and knowlege.
But the spirit sees the freedom that being wise in this area releases...not a death, , often an enlarging.
Dr. Luke's integrity is where I want to live not just visit. Appreciate your final sentence - great caution.
Dear Arthur, This article is a sad confirmation to my soul, something that I knew it's happening for over 2 years but have no idea how to move on? A few days before Covid-19 lockdown, I literally ran into the leader of the ministry that my family has been heavily invested in while I was hurrying to the airport to fly home before boarder closing. In 15 seconds time, I said to him that "I mentioned last year that "The Season has changed", now I am sure that the Season indeed has changed and things will Not be the same again (I was implying our connections also)". Our love & support has not changed, but I know for a fact that, that part of my journey is no longer a focus in our lives. But how do you convey such message? And how to "slip out" nicely & quietly? Wait for Heavenly Time & Timing. As friends, it's still painful & sad. Thank you for this timely message.
Replied by : Arthur Burk
Arthur, THANK YOU once again for blessing us with these posts~!!
Hello Arthur, Right before your first Dropping Friends article came out, I was close to writing an email to you about this very topic. This third part is especially timely for me, and gives me clarity for this season. After hearing your RGT in 2004 and discovering that I'm a very strong Mercy, my life changed. As I gained much understanding, my healing journey with God went deep. He helped me to grow and mature, this helped me to gain confidence and allow the other RG's to emerge in myself. My point today is that as you started writing your theory, I could insert my name and the name of the ministry/relationship that I've been earnestly praying about for months. It's funny, I went through this a year ago with another alignment and I had clarity on that one. This one is more difficult to be clear on because of the emotional entanglements. But, after reading this today, "I got it." Thank you for your wisdom and insights.
Replied by : Arthur Burk
How are u humans supposed. To know with confidence which assignments are from God and which from our own Egos or from the enemy for that matter. We live in the dark. And God does not speak clearly enough to most of us to confidently make assignments.
Replied by : Arthur Burk
As always mr Burke HOLY Spirit has highlighted the Truth to you.
WOW! I really love this blog and much needed right now. The Lord is showing me how Jesus picked His 12 disciples to do ministry but He also had His close 3 of the 12 who He opened up big things to. I believe it was all apart of their assignments of what they are supposed to do. It's a huge key for me going forward into this new year and moving into my own assignments.
Love the timing of this.
This morning I was pondering the Mercy row on the RG Grid w/principles, knowing since the Mercy season started I've been puzzled by the 4th column, Essential Virtue: Pleasing God, not man.
Only now, during this year of 2020, do I understand it...
This is causing me to reflect and ponder the FOMO aspect of an adventure... maybe one I wasn’t assigned to? As someone with strong introvert tendencies just a few deep relationships/friendships matter yet between that and the fear of missing out... am I missing MY assignment.
Years ago, God used one of the elements from Prince Caspian (The Chronicles of Narnia) to make a similar point. I’m not to follow my friends if God is calling me to go with Him alone.
Thanks, not an easy one to hear but so necessary. Loyalty runs deep for teachers and the thought of 'disappointing' or upsetting someone you are loyal to is a hard one to accept. Really points to where your legitimacy lies...