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.”