Over the course of several posts we’ve been looking at the story of the rich young man’s encounter with Jesus. We looked at the original context, the two errors that we make about Christianity and money and the idea of starting with judging our own generosity before judging others. Today I want to look at what it means to walk the line with wealth and the Kingdom and avoiding the fate of the rich young man.
The first thing I want to note is that the this man had it all. He had prosperity by any standard. He was not only in the top 1%. In his day he was more likely in the top .01%. Not only that but by all accounts he was a morally upstanding guy. He kept the ten commandments at least generally. Heck he probably tithed his 10% to the temple.
And yet, something was missing and he knew it. Otherwise why would he have come to Jesus and asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Think about the following short list of people who could be considered great leaders in history. People who were effective by my working definition of effective leadership: “An effective leader is someone who has followers and gets them, through his/her leadership, to accomplish something. The more followers they have and/or the greater the accomplishment; the more effective the leader.” Some of these are more moral than others but we’ll leave out the completely immoral examples. Here’s the list:
Martin Luther King Jr
Pope John Paul II
Joan of Arc
Now I could list a ton more people in every context. Religious, business, countries and causes. This is just a few that came to mind right away that I think most people would say had a huge impact. They had lots of followers and accomplished real change in their context.
Obviously most of us, or more accurately probably none of us, will be on any future list like this. But I think we can learn something here about leadership from these folks. What do they have in common? What made them effective leaders?
We’ve been spending some time in previous posts looking at the idea of leadership. Really what I’m trying to do is demystify the whole thing a bit. I think we have been told a lot of things about leadership that aren’t necessarily true. Last time we looked that the difference between being a moral leader and an effective one and how one really has nothing much to do with the other.
Today I want to talk about leadership style. When I asked my friends on social media about who great leaders were I got a huge variance in answers. I knew that I would because I have friends of all sorts of different backgrounds, ages and beliefs. The secondary question was this; What makes this person you chose a great leader? I got all kinds of answers. Here are a few:
I’m blessed to have a lot of different types of friends from different walks of life. Lately I’ve been asking some of them on social media questions about their opinions of leadership. It’s been really good to hear different perspectives on who people see as a great leader, who they think is an effective leader and what they think constitutes good measurements of effective leadership.
As I shared last time, I think we often seem to lump a lot of different things into the idea of leadership and because of that sort of overthink it. It’s not that any of these ideas are bad. I’m just not sure they are leadership in the purest form of the word. Also a lot of times they don’t really add up. We mention things that we think make a great leader but then we mention “great” leaders that frankly don’t exhibit many of those things. This is especially true when we list great world leaders.
A few weeks ago I was watching The Last Dance. This is the ten part documentary on the Chicago Bulls and the final of their six NBA Championship season. But really it’s more a documentary on Michael Jordan. And man is it good. I grew up on Magic, Bird and then Jordan and the Bulls.
It was interesting to learn more about the inner workings of the team and Jordan. A lot of the stories I’ve heard about but it’s different to hear it from them. Jordan was simply the greatest of all time. The thing that separates him to me was his drive. The guy hated losing. Absolutely hated it.
Jordan was singularly focused on the goal. And he brought others along with him. Jordan was a leader. But he wasn’t a “nice” guy. We’ve talked a lot about not being the nice guy here at the blog over the years. I’m not going to dive back into that today. Just go to the front page and search “nice”. What I want to talk about today is leadership.
The last few posts we’ve been looking at the Parable of the Good Samaritan. In my first post I pointed out that we are in the street, we are not the Samaritan. In the next post I posed the question of why we pass by those in need. Finally in my last post I shared with you how many of the Church Fathers in the early church commented on the parable.
It is that last post that I want to follow up on today. To recap that post: We are in the street and Jesus is the Samaritan who leaves His space to come and rescue us, heal us and pay for us – as well as promised to come back.
Now the question is sort of so what. In other words, yes that’s an incredible thought and may well be right, but how does that impact us other than hearing it. What are we to do with it.
In last week’s post I began a study of the parable of the Good Samaritan. Today I want to dive in to another aspect of this story. That is why did the Priest and the Levite pass by?
Now to be sure there is no right answer to this. Jesus doesn’t say and it is for sure not the point of the parable. Not only that but this is a parable not a historical account. It’s not like this actually happened so we couldn’t ask them so to speak. But I think it’s interesting to think about.
For starters they should have stopped. Remember in the story this was a fellow Jew who was robbed, stripped, beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. In fact if what I’m thinking is true this was a fairly prominent Jew. And yet two people who represented the highest order of the Jewish culture of the day, and those seen by others as closet to God, don’t stop. They pass by on the other side of the road.
But the real reason I’m posing the question is far more important. The real question I’m asking is why do we pass by?
The last couple of blogs I’ve been writing about the idea of not lying. It’s funny even to type that. But as we’ve been discussing, this is not always as simple as it seems. We’ve talked about not lying to ourselves, not lying to others, and not lying to other singles.
In the world of Christian singleness there are a ton of lies. There are lies that the church has told singles, lies the enemy has told singles, lies that singles tell themselves, and lies that our current culture tells them. I’ve written a lot about these over the years. Rather than try to sum up that many posts in one new one I’m going to just list some and link to places where I’ve tried to be more honest and straightforward with the truth. The list is not exhaustive and in fact if you think of more put it in the comments. I’d love to see what I’m missing. So here we go. Lies singles have been told, thought and/or believed:
I’ve been writing some posts about how to stop lying, why it’s important starting with not lying to ourselves and to others in general. Today I want to bring this back into the topic of singleness for a couple of posts. Today I want to talk about how to not lie as a single and next time I’ll list some lies that single are told and often believe.
Before I dive in I want to say that I’m writing from a Christian context but that basically all I’m going to say here is just basic morality and good emotional health. The fact is that God created us to be emotionally and mentally healthy and to be in right relationship with each other in all circumstances. Sin of any kind wrecks that. Which is why we are in the world that we are. Lying is one of those sins.
Here are some lies I think singles tell each other.
In my last post I tried to set up some thoughts about lying. Toward the end of that post, I talked about two people that I know we often lie to: God and ourselves. Today I want to think about how we lie to others and how to stop doing that.
Before I dive in, let me talk about a couple of reasons this is important. First, it’s important because lying is a sin. Thou shalt not lie is one of the ten commandments. The second thing is that while lying to someone may seem like it helps us in that circumstance it almost always backfires in some way. But even if it doesn’t seem to it does at least two things. It erodes trust and it impacts my ability to love that person – because I’ll know I lied to them – even if they never know it.