I recently overheard a conversation among friends about a company that fired an employee after he refused to follow the demands of his supervisor. I chimed in that “he deserved his punishment” and shouldn’t have been surprised since he knew what was expected of him when signing on for the job.
Several days later while preparing for a missions workshop in our state, I read again the familiar Acts 1:8 passage, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”.
While the concept of insubordination is often linked with the military, it can as I’ve already referenced, also occur in the workplace. But does it occur in the church?
Webster’s dictionary defines insubordination as “not obeying authority or refusing to follow orders”. Before being taken up into heaven, Jesus gave final orders to His apostles, and to us in Acts 1:8. Has the church failed to obey His authority and refused His orders?
I’m not an attorney, but as I understand it, there are several characteristics that must be present before a situation can be considered insubordination. First of all, the order must be clear and in the form of a verbal or written statement. If Jesus had said, “I suggest that you guys consider being witnesses after I’m gone,” it would not be considered an order or a command to follow. God made sure that this command was recorded in the scriptures to ensure that we would understand His expectation of us.
Additionally, if it’s insubordination, the order must be proper and cannot violate the law. Being His witnesses doesn’t violate the law, at least in very many places in the world. But it definitely doesn’t violate God’s law. It only seems appropriate, that if His message is going to go to the ends of the earth, His followers must be the ones to take it.
I don’t know of a church that has directly refused to be His witness. Yet many members have done their own thing and failed to be witnesses of Christ in their community, state, nation or world. However, whether direct or indirect, it’s still insubordination if the order is not carried out. So, are you guilty of insubordination or are you actively involved in carrying out the command given by our authority, Jesus Christ?