Pulpit Reflections

Two heads are better than one. Right?? Well, maybe. Maybe not.

Josh Mitchell was clearing brush early in September in Clay Center, Nebraska, when he
came upon a small snake with a very rare characteristic. It had two heads! The garter snake also had two necks, consisting of ten vertebrae each. The pair of heads and necks made up ten percent of the total length of the serpent.

There’s a problem. The two heads cannot agree on which way the rest of the creature
should slither. Hence, it really makes little headway in any direction.

So, are two heads really better than one?

The government of the Roman Republic (501 b.c. – 49 b.c.) had two executives, each
possessing equal levels of authority. This system was intended to provide a check on each “consul,” as the executives were called, so no one person could acquire too much power. It worked fairly well until Julius Caesar completely dominated his co-consul and wound up making himself dictator for life in 49 b.c. His reign as dictator was brief since he was assassinated five years later. His grand-nephew, Octavius, seized power after a protracted civil war and declared himself “Princeps”, that is emperor, in 29 b.c. He then changed his name to “Augustus”. Yes, that Augustus, the one who decreed that “All the world should be enrolled (Luke 2:1).

My point: Two heads worked for a while, but in time the arrangement faltered.

Have you ever seen a power struggle within a congregation? The pastor thinks that the
congregation should proceed one way, and a certain member tries to get the church to head somewhere else. In fact, both individuals are mistaken. The church does not belong to Pastor So-&-So, nor does it belong to Church Member Such-&-Such.

Who is the head of the Church? Jesus Christ said to Simon Peter, “Upon this rock, I will
build MY church” (emphasis added; Matthew 16:18).

The Church/a church can only have one head if it is to go anywhere or do anything in
service to God’s Kingdom.

Most conflicts within congregations are about the question of who’s in charge! If the
two parties involved would take a step back and give power, authority, and glory to Christ,
which only He deserves, then most of the conflict, friction, and turmoil within churches would disappear or, at least, diminish. Search the Scriptures, pray, and let Christ have His way!

Two heads are not always better than one, especially when the one head, the true head
of the body, is Jesus Christ our Lord.

Ken Tubbesing is pastor of the Martin Luther Church south of Johnson.