Leading versus “lording”

Bad bossJesus was talking to his disciples and he said this.  “You’ve observed how….rulers throw their weight around and how quickly a little power goes to their heads.  It’s not going to be that way with you.”  Matthew 20:25, The Message.

Jesus’ statement came directly after one of his disciples asked for appointment to a seat of power for her sons in what she thought the Kingdom was going to be.  Sound familiar? Continue reading →

Do not trust these deceptive words.

Samuel 01Ancient Israel believed they had carte blanche with God’s approval.

Not unusual.  Especially among nations that are enjoying a modicum of political and financial success.  “God bless America” we hear so often in political speeches, implying that we have a special dispensation from God.

Ancient Israel’s mantra was “the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord,” as they looked proudly at the gleaming place of worship they associated with God’s dwelling place.  “Nothing bad could happen to us because we have the temple of the Lord” was the upshot of  this phrase. Continue reading →

We want to sit at the head table.

Power 03“You let people walk all over you.”  A friend recounted how an advice-giver told him to “get a spine.”  Seemed like good advice.  Being everyone’s doormat is not a good thing.

Although…  Power is funny because it doesn’t always give what it promises to its possessor.   Continue reading →

The Apprentice

Old School HouseBefore a teacher left his village on a long trip he entrusted his two best apprentices with the responsibility of insuring that progress in education continued in the small community.  The village had rudimentary needs, and there was much work to be done in the teacher’s absence.

The first apprentice was meticulous in his lesson preparations and in doing things exactly as the teacher did them.  Rules were strictly enforced.  Lesson books were carefully followed.  Lunch was always served at exactly the same hour.  The apprentice left for the day precisely 10 minutes after the students left.  He was keenly aware of the exact obligations of the job. Continue reading →

Tapping the Brakes

Traffic JamThe highway traffic began to slow down.  Sixty-five was the speed limit, but when it hit fifty-five and then forty-five it was obvious that something had happened up ahead.  The curves and elevation changes of the road prevented seeing the cause, but everyone thought that it must be a bad wreck.

Forty.  Thirty.  Twenty.  Stop.  Nothing but tail lights and short tempers three lanes deep. Continue reading →

Letting People Down

down or depressedThe president began the meeting with, “We can’t do any business because we don’t have a quorum.”

It has happened before.  A carefully constructed agenda and set of to-do’s was turned into just an interesting conversation.  The meeting ended with nothing getting done in spite of the fact that the organizational clock was ticking.

Those who didn’t attend had lots of reasons.  Worked spilled over into the meeting time.  School called to ask a parent to attend to a sick child.  Second thoughts about belonging to our group.  Too many commitments and not enough time.  All legitimate reasons.  But all shutting down the actions of the group. Continue reading →

Banquet

Banquet drawingWhen Adam and Eve disobeyed God, it was with food.

When the floods receded and Noah left the Ark, he offered a sacrifice to God and had a celebratory picnic.

When the Israelites commemorated their delivery from Egyptian slavery, they had a meal.

One of the great miracles in the Gospels is the feeding of 5000 people with just 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Continue reading →