Day 57: Ignoring God: Working Your In-Basket (Acts 25:1-23)
Today’s Passage: Acts 25:1-23
I had a boss who once made a passing comment, “The guys in-basket is always empty, he spends way too much time on it.”
I was at first surprised at his negative attribution to an “empty in-basket”. As a young manager my thought was, “Isn’t this the sign of a good manager?” So, I asked for an explanation.
“Simple”, he said. “You’re not paid to manage paper and CYA. You're paid to lead, to be out in the middle of stuff, surface issues, encourage the team. And when needed, make hard decisions. Do that, and there will always be ‘stuff’ awaiting you in your in-basket.”
Today, as I read the text, it feels like Festus is focused on his in-basket.
Imagine “Jesus is in your in-basket.” What I mean by that is, imagine you have been presented with the person of Jesus. You need to act.
A few days ago, I suggested that people often act in one of three ways. They Delay, Decide for Him, or Deny Him.
Perhaps to Delay is to Decide, but now I am wondering if Defer is another path? To me it was clear Felix was delaying, maybe even wrestling with what to do. Festus on the other hand is moving quickly—he wants a clean in-basket—and if he can do this without making a decision, that is all the better. A close read of verses 1-12 reveals that Festus deferred this to Caesar in the first 2 weeks of his tenure, while Felix wrestled with it for 2 years!
Festus “punts this decision”. Festus had the full authority to decide the issue in his “courtroom”. Yet he first tries to push this back to Jerusalem. In that situation, Festus would use the Jews as his council of Advisors, and decide the case in that rather non-neutral location. Paul, knowing the outcome makes his appeal to Rome. Festus agrees.
But he does not stop there. Next, Festus drags King Agrippa into the mix. Again, I cannot be sure of his motives, but it is rather stunning that Festus is confronted with the reality that Jesus is risen from the dead, and he seems unmoved by the implications of this assertion.
The more I consider these few snippets of text, the more I want to yell, “Dude, wake up! Do you understand what is being presented to you!!!”
This deferring, dismissive attitude is very prevalent today.
It seems as if people, even when curious about Jesus and matters of faith, are often content to defer, to not press themselves to a decision. They seem motivated to “get Jesus off their plate” and “out of their in-basket”.
Let me be blunt. People, when presented with the assertion from Jesus’ followers that He is God come to earth. That he died on the Cross. That he rose from the dead. That he did this all so each individual may have eternal life. People, when presented with this life or death choice—they punt, they defer, they deflect. If they can get Jesus out of their in-basket, then they think they have dealt with Him.
Jesus’ followers know that nothing is further from the truth. We will all come before The Judge—Jesus. We will stand in an eternal courtroom.