What NOT to Crowdsource

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crowd

When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” – Matthew 27:24 (NIV)

Crowdsourcing has really changed the way that solutions are found, funds are raised and products are launched.

If you’re not familiar with the term, crowdsourcing, it refers to broadcasting problems to an unknown group of solvers in the form of an open call for solutions. Potential solvers, i.e, the crowd, submit their solutions. Instead of engaging traditional funding sources such as lenders and venture capitals, fledging entrepreneurs can now raise capital for their projects through crowdfunding websites such as indiegogo, and kickstarter.  I just read in the business section of my local paper today about a woman who raised $2,000 to send herself to clown school in Paris using this approach. (No, I’m not making this up!)

I believe there is an innate appeal to crowdsourcing because it engages the masses and transfers power from the traditional gatekeepers.  If you think about, America Idol essentially crowdsources the selection of its winners to those willing to simply pay for the cost of a text.

Despite its rising popularity, there are certain things that should never be crowdsourced – the critical decisions that only you and I can make.

Before the word crowdsourcing was ever conceived, Pontius Pilate put the concept into practice to a disastrous end by condemning Jesus Christ to be crucified.  The Sanhedrin Council who tried Jesus did not have the authority to kill him.  Only the Roman Procurator, Pilate could issue such as order.  Pilate knew in his heart of hearts that Jesus was innocent and declared so three times before the Jews. (See Jn 18:38, Jn 19:4 and Jn 19:6).  Pilate’s wife even warned her husband not to crucify him, having dreamt about it (Mat. 27:19).  Yet Pilate, who had previously stirred the ire of the Jews by moving his headquarters from Caesarea to Jerusalem and displaying the names of Roman deities there, did not want any more problems from them.  He was not willing to sacrifice his political career so instead he sacrificed the life of an innocent man by appeasing the crowd.

Scripture also contains other crowdsourcing pioneers who met with similar results:

  • Aaron listened the crowd’s request to make a golden calf to worship after Moses had been on the mountain longer than they expected. (Exodus 32:1-4)
  • Saul offered a burnt sacrifice instead of waiting for the prophet Samuel to do so when his men became fearful and started to desert him when facing the Philistines. (1 Sam 13:1-13)

I am not suggesting to not seek out Godly counsel when faced with difficult decisions.  In fact. scripture encourages us to do so (Pro. 15:22).  There are others times when facing decisions, that the right choice is evident even if it is not easy or popular.  That is not a time for crowdsourcing. In those cases we must resist the temptation to make the easy choice, which only brings temporary relief but also carries with it long term negative consequences.

I love this tweet I read from Kent Julian a few days ago.  “Decision based on fear = bad decision.”

What Cars Do You See?

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I see. . . .Subarus!

And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.”  Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha – 2:Kings 6:17 (NIV)

My wife and I recently purchased a new, at least new to us anyway, vehicle.   Our vehicle of choice was a 2011 Subaru Outback.   The moment upon driving the vehicle off of the lot, Subarus in large numbers appeared from out of nowhere to greet us on the highway.  I felt like I was in the middle of just about every mummy movie ever filmed.  You know the movie where the naïve archeologist stumbles upon the previously undistributed tomb of some ancient pharaoh, removes an amulet that awakens the mummified monarch along with his angry hoard?  The simple act of me placing the Outback into drive apparently sent out some sort of homing signal that arrested Subarus everywhere from their peaceful slumber and drew them to me.  I could resonate with Haley Joel Osment’s character in the movie, The Sixth Sense but instead of seeing dead people I was seeing Subarus!

Career coach, Dan Miller, discussed on a recent podcast this phenomenon of suddenly seeing previously unseen vehicles after you purchase the same model.  He indicated the action of purchasing a car activates the brain’s reticular activator.  The reticular activator’s job is to stay on alert and it does this by making you notice some things and ignoring others.  After purchasing a vehicle, you suddenly “notice” other vehicles of a same make, model and color.

If you are a Christian, at the moment of the new birth, your “spiritual” activator is turned on.   You have the ability to “see” things that were previously blind to you.  Scripture describes in various places the unconverted person as being in darkness or belonging to the kingdom darkness while the believer is encouraged to walk in the light.  Jesus said speaking of himself in John 12:46, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”  However the spiritual activator is more like a dimmer switch than a simple on and off switch.  Your actions and thoughts control the intensity of the dimmer and impact the amount of lumens the light source emits.

Embracing fear and not faith is one of the biggest ways to dim the lights.  Elisha’s servant embraced fear when he went and found the Aramean army surrounding the city where he and his master where staying.  Upon making this discovery he said exasperatingly to Elsiha, “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” (2 Kings 6:15 – NIV).  The servant could only see his troubles but failed to see his deliverance.  Elisha seeing with the eyes of faith responded, “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:17 – NIV).  Elisha prayed for his servant’s spiritual activator to be engaged and his servant saw the hills filled with horses and chariots of fire (2: Kings 6:17).

When we are tempted to become overwhelmed by fear, doubt and worry, we need to use our eyes of faith to see the unseen – the invisible hand of providence working on our behalf.  “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31B).  God is the creator and still undisputed ruler of the universe who loved you and I so much that he gave his only Son so that we could live with him eternally.  God is limitless in his in power and in his love for his people.

So I end with the same question I began with, “what car to do you see?”  Do you see the hoopties of fear, doubt, disappointment or bitterness?  Engage your spiritual activator and see the chariots of fire.