Thursday, October 29, 2009

Joshi's Leadership Lesson

Joshi just read a great book for school. It is called "Yonder Mountain A Cherokee Legend" told by Robert Bushyhead and written by Kay Bannon. What a great story!

The story is about a great chief who has aged and knows it is time to pass on his position to a younger man among his people. He calls three young men who he thinks might fill the spot. He tells them they must travel to the top of the mountain yonder. He tells them to bring back what they find there.

The first man goes part way up, finds beautiful rocks and says he shall bring them back, for they will brings his people money.

The chief tells him he has done well, but they must wait to see what the others bring back.

The second one goes a little farther up and brings back herbs, to heal the people. The chief also tells him he did well, but they must wait for the last man.

Several days pass, and the last man finally comes back, empty handed. When he gets to the chief he tells him that he went to the top of the mountain, and it was a tough road, but when he got up there he saw a signal from somewhere beyond, there are people there that need help.

And this is my favorite part:

Sounding Eagle rose to his feet. "Chief Sky," he pleaded. "We need to go to them quickly. They are in trouble."

Chief Sky stood straight before his people and the three young men. Pausing for a time, he lifted his eyes to the mountains and watched the mist settle on the peaks. He then turned to his people and spoke. "We need a leader who has climbed to the top of the mountain. We need one who has seen beyond the mountain to other people who are in need." (Bushyhead and Kay Bannon, Yonder Mountain)


I love the way the chief was looking for someone who was brave enough to travel outside their reach, and then notice the need of others. Where the other two men brought back good things, they didn't risk it all and go to the top; they didn't see beyond the needs of their own people.

I couldn't help but relate this to the church today. One of the things I love and respect about the leadership at The Orchard is the way our focus, as a church, is constantly being directed on those outside the church walls. And it isn't about trying to convince anyone that Christ is the way to go; it is about loving others without an agenda. Christ can do His own work, we just need to love and He will do the rest.

And so I say to the church everywhere, we need leaders who are willing to travel the rough road and see the people who are in need, and then act.


KeithJonesBlog said...

Hmmm... seems like God told us to love, but also gave us an agenda. You know, like the great commission.

Of course care and love, but teach too.

Mike Jones said...

So what you're saying Keith is that the only reason we should love people, you know - God's creation (the creation that he died for and loved EVEN while we were still sinners)... that the only reason we should love someone is in order to 'win' them to Christ?

Hmmm... seems like Jesus said the two greatest commandments were to first love God and the second (like unto it or very close to it) to love others as ourselves. If you love someone purely out of agenda or for some other reason, is it really love? What happens if they choose not to believe what you have to say? Do you no longer love them? Then do you only try to 'love' those who you think are safe or who you think you might be able to sway to your side?

What about just loving someone because they are human. What about loving someone and helping someone or caring for someone because God made them. That's how I see Jesus living. He went to the people no one else would love. He healed and sometimes told people NOT to say anything. Sometimes people just need to be loved and cared for without getting some teaching crammed down their throat. If we could truly love this way, then maybe more people would see Jesus in us (who most people believe and respect) than the stereotype Christians carry because of the agenda.

KeithJonesBlog said...

How much do you really love someone if you don't share salvation with them. They are headed for eternal death and you say you are loving them but you aren't sharing the thing they need most?

Absolutely love them because they are God's creation and HE loves them. As his followers we should do the same. He loved them so much he died for them, we couldn't have a more complete example of how to love. But when he saw them dead in their sin he didn't leave them there.

Accept people where they are. Love them where they are, but don't neglect to tell them the truth. Teaching isn't "cramming something down their throats" it's giving them a good example and sharing your life with them.

That doesn't mean that you corner them with a 45 minute hell-fire and damnation sermon, but faith comes by hearing. If not from us then who?

Mike Jones said...

Exactly. You made my point for me. Hopefully you see the issue here is not sharing Jesus with people through the way we live our lives and the way we love, it's loving with an agenda. I think I can do that and still leave room for God and the Holy Spirit to move and draw people to himself.

And if you think that God gives you the sole responsibility of bringing someone to a salvation decision than that seems like a narrow view of God and such a heavy burden that no one can live up to. God is so much bigger than that. Does God want us to go (as we are going, as we are living) and make disciples? He wouldn't have said so if he didn't, but I believe the 'as you are going' part is more about our lives reflecting the character of Jesus so much that others want to know more. People want to know how you can go through good times and crappy times and still keep on loving God and others. That's how they hear - through the testimony of our lives.

I know, I know, we can argue all day and are not going to convince each other through a blog post. I'm ok with that... hope you are too.

And love you too bro!

KeithJonesBlog said...

Love you too.

I don't think I disagree with you and I think we are hung up on terms, but... obviously God has given us a responsibility to spread his word. We are his body, hands and feet to accomplish his mission. We don't just say God bless, keep warm and well fed. We feed, we clothe, and we explain that it's not just us that love them, Jesus does. Obviously the fact that Jesus loves someone is even more important than the fact that we do.

Obviously the point is that if Christians ACTED like Christ, people would probably be more open to the message that we are teaching about Christ. When the two don't jive we hurt our own testimony.

Of course we don't need to ACT like we love people, we actually need to love them.

Love geniunely. Live opennly. All for the glory of God.

mom said...

Someone said "Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words" It is attributed to Francis of Assisi, some disput that, but it doesn't matter. That is how Jesus lived. The way we live our lives and love those around us as we go in this world has to glorify God. The closer we draw to God, the more He is reflected in our lives. Not everyone will respond the way we expect them to, but God knows what is going on in their heart-we just have to love them, like we love ourselves. I grew up in an attmosphere of shoving the gospel down people's throat-that isn't how Christ did it-He loved them. He NEVER once condoned sin, but He loved people first. If we are different, those around us will be curious-how do you get through this and that-because our focus is on Christ, not on this world. Just my 2 cents, boys!

mom said...

One more cent :) More lessons are caught than taught-true?