Henry Stimson, the diplomat of the World War II era, once said, "The only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him." That saying gnawed at me this morning as I read Acts 14:23:
Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
Presumably Paul felt that the young churches in Asia which he had planted only a few weeks earlier could stand on their own, apart from his presence and leadership. In my mind, there's something that doesn't compute about appointing men as leaders who had been Christians for less than 3 or 4 months. Could it be that Paul believed in the power of the Holy Spirit? Could it be that he saw in these men a maturity that the people could not help but respect? Ronald Reagan had no foreign-policy experience when he became president, yet he had more than a little to do with ending the Cold War. Likewise, Paul took an extraordinary step when he refused to settle down as his convert's "pastor." The fact is that they already had a "Senior Pastor," and their elders could rely upon Him for direction.