He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. The men said, “This is the day the LORD spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.” (1 Sam 24:3-6)
What role does obedience play in the community of God’s people? What honor is due the men and women who have been anointed by the Holy Spirit to lead?
I find myself pondering these questions after watching the presentation in support of the Call to Action proposals of the Interim Operations Team at General Conference. I watched the live feed and followed the #gc2012 Twitter feed at the same time. Distrust and cynicism blazed through the Twitter feed even as Adam Hamilton delivered a highly polished sales pitch that traded heavily on fears of decline and denominational death as a motivation for enacting the specific ideas in the proposal. The antagonism was obvious and the efforts of supporters and foes of the proposals to manipulate and shape the rhetoric were not very subtle.
It felt like a political event not a spiritual gathering.
So, I wonder what is going to happen when the General Conference acts or fails to act. Will we respect the decision? Will those who do not like whatever the General Conference decides still work our best to implement its vision? Should we?
At what point does our obedience and respect for the General Conference call us to put aside our personal motives and ideas in service to the Holy Spirit’s movement in that body?
This is a question that may be easier to answer today than it will be after the General Conference concludes its work, but it is one that is worthy of our consideration.