The Saga of the Least of These

This third installment of the Trilogy of Mercy is The Saga of the Least of These. It was inspired by an encounter with a former classmate. It teaches us to be mindful of the personality of Jesus and His intent for His followers to model love and compassion for everyone.

The Saga of the Least of These

 

He came in contact with the least of these;

Strategically positioned beneath his gaze.

They walked the streets and loitered under trees;

Fought for survival on difficult days.

Rather than seeking to understand,

He figuratively gave the back of his hand.

Invisible to some, but to his glance;

The poor decisions they made in their lives,

Were not deserving of a second chance.

But they were not angry for life deprives

On one hand and gives with the other;

At times a way forward is discovered.

 

He came in contact with the least of these;

He did not know their stories or their plight;

To those down trodden and knocked to their knees,

He gave an uppercut, a left and right

And offered platitudes instead of food

And chastised a non-existent attitude.

His words were a punch to their mid section;

His accusations were born of neglect;

His demeanor inflamed their rejection

Their current state was not their fate and yet

He blamed them for their present condition

And gave them negative recognition.

One day he came upon the least of these,

Not the image on the evening news,

But a panhandler who wanted to please

By offering to shine his shoes.

After a few pleasantries were exchanged

He noted that the man was not deranged.

He was spell bound by the look in his eyes.

There standing before him was a classmate;

A football team member to his surprise;

A high school friend he had not seen of late.

They had a reunion for old time’s sake,

But pondered the difference time could make.

He was outrageous, loud and authentic,

While they reminisced within the concourse.

He found out his friend was schizophrenic

And lost his job while on the police force.

He was homeless and as a last resort,

Tried to survive working at the airport.

The image of suffering changed for him;

Became personal and it changed his heart.

He no longer felt the need to condemn,

But to contribute and play a part;

For if not by the grace of God he sees

He could have been among the least of these.

Copyright © 2012 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from the book Daily Resurrections

By Orlando Ceaser

Jesus Did Not Say (conditions & qualifiers)

Cocky & Rhodette Pray

The ministry of Jesus is often quoted for his doctrine of love. In the second installment of the Trilogy of Mercy we wish to spotlight that Jesus did not place restrictions or conditions on his comments about love, grace and mercy. However, many of his followers’ place qualifications on his word, which were not intended.

The first installment highlighted what Jesus would do if he was just like us and we take the discussion a step further to challenge different interpretations.

Jesus Did Not Say

Jesus did not say,

To “Love your neighbor as yourself,” unless

Their difference makes it hard to comply

And bias makes it hard to acquiesce

And your discomfort makes it hard to try.

He did not say,

“Take care of widows and the fatherless;”

Unless, the budget is under a strain

Instead of searching for how you can bless,

You rationalize and ignore their pain.

Jesus did not say,

To comfort and care for the poor, unless

You can convince yourself that they’re to blame,

For financial uncertainty and stress

Flows from their actions and goes with the shame.

He did not say,

“Love your God with all your heart, mind and soul”

Unless, it’s inconvenient today.

Why put your future under His control,

When you can prospect for a better way?

Jesus did not say,

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse,” unless

A major acquisition is in sight;

Or there is a prize you want to possess,

To feed your ego and selfish delight.

He did not say,

“My grace is sufficient for you,” unless,

You shop around and find a better deal;

Higher probability for success;

With self centered emotional appeal.

Jesus did not say,

“I am the way, the truth and the life,” unless,

You have your own path to the Creator;

And it is appropriate to obsess

On idols as God impersonators.

He did not say,

“Come to me all who are weary and burdened

And I will give you rest,” unless you find,

He is inept when He says that his word mends

The brokenhearted and gives peace to the mind.

Jesus did not say,

“If you ask anything in my name, I will

Do it,” unless He has a change of heart;

Unless, He reneges on promises until

He tears the foundation of the world apart.

Unless He,

Wakes up on the wrong side of the universe

And changes His mind to send another flood;

Develops an attitude to make things worse,

As He exempts us from the Savior’s blood.

Unless He,

Decides to qualify His love for us,

I would not question the work of His hands.

He did not mollify His love for us

Or place an escape clause in his commands.

Jesus was not conditional when he spoke

About His love for us as a healing balm;

His inspired words were not placed as a joke

In wisdom writings in proverbs and psalms.

Jesus did not say,

We should abide by his communications,

Unless, we take issue with his intent;

Be skeptical of interpretations

That are not consistent with His intent.

Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser

www.watchwellinc.com

Personal Reflections

  1. Reflect on each stanza as you read it. Wrestle with the content.

  2. What do you think about the message?

  3. Are there instances where you misinterpreted the words in Jesus, either through understanding or your actions?

The Trilogy of Mercy

daily_resurrections (1) (2)

The trilogy of mercy are three works inspired by Scripture that wrestles with the mandate of love your neighbor. They are,

  1. What would Jesus say, if he was just like us?

  2. Jesus did not say (which speaks to no qualifications or disclaimers on his love)

  3. The saga of the least of these

These poems are present in the book Daily Resurrections. The book is not a devotional, but it can be used that way. The title refers to the signature poem covering points during the day and during our lives when we are submerged and immersed in situations from which will rise.

Intellectually, we submit to the basic tenets of love and forgiveness. We accept that we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. However, we must be reminded about mercy and how it goes hand in hand with love and forgiveness.

The first installment of the trilogy is a poem entitled What would Jesus say, if he was just like us? The poem is good for personal reflection and a group discussion. There is an irony in us expecting good things from God when we are reluctant to have His goodness trickle down from us to our neighbors.

 

If Jesus was just like us,

What would he do?

There is a matter I would like to discuss

What would Jesus do if he was like us?

Would he forgive unconditionally,

Or from a list he formed on Calvary?

He said, “Come to me all who are heavy laden

And I will give you rest.”

But would he make us fill out forms

And pass a series of tests?

And based on our affiliations,

Affinities, addresses and how we live,

Would he base reconciliation

On if he thought us worthy, to forgive?

If Jesus was just like us I wonder

About self serving parties to mark his reign,

Commanding the lightning and thunder

As miracles for personal gain.

Would he choose disciples by their net worth,

Socialize with an exclusive crowd,

Suggest we store treasures here on earth

As pompous, privileged ones and the proud?

To those who took the more traveled road,

For beating the system would he reward

Those who took short cuts to lighten their load

By throwing their good neighbors overboard?

What would Jesus do if he was like us?

Would grace be earned and favor granted?

Do you think he would be inclined,

To answer prayers with the favors slanted

To those with nice bodies, pure souls and minds?

Touch the hem of his garment for a price

Or sell tickets to let the spirit in;

Would he pose as the perfect sacrifice?

Would he do anything to save his skin?

 

There would be no need for confession

He’d love us only if and only when

We blame others for indiscretions

And go cold turkey to curb our sin.

Free will eliminated or curtailed;

Abandons when there is an accuser;

A constant companion until we fail;

To not associate with a loser.

Would he charge for frequency and length of prayers;

Score the difficulty of each request.

Pledge to stay out of earthly affairs

Because after all, The Father knows best?

What would Jesus do if he was like us?

Ten commandments and sermons on the mount

Would be delivered if the speaker’s fee

Was high enough to take into account

The distance he traveled through the galaxy?

Copyright © 2008 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from Daily Resurrections

By Orlando Ceaser

Available at OrlandoCeaser.com and amazon.com

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com and poetry at watchwellinc.com

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser

 

31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 31 – Shared Greatness – The Epic Leader

UYLGcover (2) 

Epic means larger-than-life, on a grander scale, and above and beyond the ordinary. Epic is the magnitude found in a Cecil B. DeMille blockbuster movie with enormous sets, panoramic views and large crowds of people. They are like movies envisioned by Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, JJ Abrams and James Cameron.

When I apply epic to leadership, I want you to think of leadership that is scalable, based on the situation, circumstances, and demands of the organization and needs of the people. The Epic Leader has the skills, abilities, talent and capacities discussed over the 31 Day Leadership Gauntlet. They produce gargantuan goals and vision, with the courage to be empathetic, resilient and able to adapt style, structure and emotions to be empathetic and emotionally intelligent.

The Epic Leader is in the mind of the beholder; the followers are made bolder because of their ability to shoulder the burdens together. They are effective in working as a team. Size matters to the follower because the Epic Leader is big enough to coach, mentor and lead where leadership is required. The followers feel they can trust them because of their reputation and trustworthy interactions. The Epic Leader also, has a grander vision, a sense of purpose with their egos intact as they develop their people to have the curiosity, strength through interdependence in turbulent times, with the spirituality and curiosity to be creative and able to overcome fear.

The Epic Leader is humble and their humility will not allow them to say, “I’ve got this or I am enough,” but you know it is true from the leadership versatility they exhibit and the leadership power that is granted to them by their followers. The Epic Leader makes others into epic followers. The followers feel like somebody. They feel they are going somewhere and to ready to do something great.

The Epic Leader creates impact players, who are students of the game, in the right role, powered by a dream and who are always created with high standards. They are continuous learners. They are familiar with the work and leadership practices of Gen. Colin Powell. Their people have grit. It is the grit that is talked about by Angela Duckworth and defined as passion and perseverance. The Epic Leader wants to take their people and organizations from good to great as Jim Collins discussed in his book. They have the vulnerability that Brené Brown writes, speaks and researches. They are equipped with the emotional intelligence referred to by Daniel Goleman and Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. They understand the Givers and Takers as outlined by Adam Grant and Start with Why according to Simon Sinek, and the strengths of their people as championed by Marcus Buckingham.

The Epic Leader ensures their followers will have the appropriate mindset, therefore a  they put forth the right effort and preparation.  They work to be culturally competent from reading Malcolm Gladwell in his books Blink, the Outsider and Talking to strangers. The epic leader understands unconscious bias through the work of Sondra Thiederman, Making Diversity Work, and the research of Mahzarin R. Babaji and Anthony G. Greenwald summarize in their book about hidden biases, Blindspot. He took the Intrinsic Association Test (IAT) at  https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/.

You do not start out saying you want to be an Epic Leader. They would not be the mindset of a person focused on humility. It is a distinction bestowed upon you by those who look up to you and learn from you. You have been a breath of fresh air on their development and they realized how you have improved their environment and enriched their lives.

May you unlock your leadership greatness and become an Epic Leader. May you continue to magnify and multiply; magnify your impact and spread your reach to positively influence more people. I am hopeful that your 31 Day Leadership Gauntlet journey was a mind stimulating, heart inspiring and faith affirming adventure into becoming an Epic leader. May your Epic followers be instrumental in helping you to change the world

The Epic Leader

The Epic Leader surveys the terrain

And ponders the strategy, yet remains

True to the mission; put their people first,

As they seek the best and plan for the worst.

The Epic Leader ascends and descends;

Adjusts and gains trust as they comprehend

The magnitude of the crisis at hand,

To manage chaos, while taking a stand.

Their mission is clear, their vision intact

They may have charisma that will attract,

Or humility and a strength of will

To lead the people with dreams to fulfill.

The Epic Leader has the confidence

Of someone emboldened by competence

And guided by a mission and vision;

A philosophy that shapes decisions.

The Epic Leader walks across the stage;

There is alignment, as people engage

In the moment, confidence exuded,

As people feel affirmed and included.

The rivals don’t always attack at dawn

And competitors charge with weapons drawn.

They have monumental ability

To focus on mental agility.

The Epic Leader manages to rise

To the encounter, but look in their eyes,

For there lies the energy on which they feed;

As power flows from what the people need.

The Epic Leader prepares and repairs.

To show us that leadership shares and cares.

They can get by on a wing and a prayer.

Resourceful, vulnerable, self-aware,

Emotionally wise and capable,

When change is truly inescapable;

Uncertainty is a root of the norm,

They will translate, transcend, as they transform.

The Epic Leader advises their crew

And wisely considers their points of view;

With seafaring credentials to perform;

Courageously at the height of the storm.

Copyright © 2019 Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. What can you do to become a bigger leader?

  2. How can you enrich the lives of those I influence?

  3. What you do today to make person I encounter feel important?

  4. What are my strengths and weaknesses in interacting, influencing and leading people?

  5. What are my blind spots, as it relates to understanding people were not like me?

  6. How do I gather feedback on how others see me?

  7. Who are the people I should select?

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser

31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 30 – Mediocrity      

ImpactPLayerTree

Step out in excellence. Individuals and organizations mired in mediocrity failed to reach their potential, fall short of meeting customer expectations and do not achieve the best. Excellence demands dedication, creativity, innovation, cooperation and coordination between teams and departments. The analogy of the impact player works to explain the high bar necessary in today’s environment.

Impact players are peak performers, game changers and difference makers. They are recognized as the superstars in our organizations, schools, communities and families. They are the stars on the team, the leaders that people respect and emulate. The greater the number of impact player available, the more it accelerates and creates a critical mass necessary to reach your goals.

Organizations cannot afford wholesale mediocrity within their ranks. They must select the best talent, develop the best talent and retain the best talent. Just imagine how productive we would be if we increased the number of impact players within our group. They would realize that they are in need group of performers. Their presence would have a synergistic effect on the group. Employees would be more engaged and productive; students would achieve higher grades and test results. Businesses would consistently reach their productivity and financial targets.

There are 10 principles observed in impact players from academia, athletics, entertainment and business. This is not an exhaustive list and all of them may not be present in everyone.

 

Impact Player

  1. A Natural Fit for the Role

  • Excels in areas where their talents, skills and abilities are fully utilized

  1. Powered by a Dream

  • Driven by ambitious and stretch goals to fulfill potential and purpose

  1. A Student of the Game

  • Continuously learning information about their field and related areas

  1. Fundamentally Sound

  • Masters the basics through practice and mental rehearsal

  1. Sets High Standards

  • Fully engaged to beat their personal best, which exceed job requirements

  1. Creative Expression

  • Develops new ways to improve work and play, with a style of their own

  1. Passionate Execution

  • Aggressively implements plans and checklists to stay on tasks

  1. Lead by Example

  • Personal actions match their words

  1. Make Others Better

  • Elevates team performance by teaching and challenging the effort and results of peers

  1. Serve Others

  • Willingness to share talent and resources – give back – pay forward

Copyright © 2007 Orlando Ceaser

Please review the Impact Player poem. How do you align with the principles?

 

The Impact Player

 

He was not always an Impact Player;

A natural fit at his position.

He had to struggle through many layers

Of resistance from the competition.

He worked to get in the best condition;

While mastering all the fundamentals;

Setting high standards, filled with ambition;

Knowing success is not accidental.

She was not always an Impact Player;

A change agent, when she first reached the field.

She started thinking as a bricklayer,

Then felt she had a cathedral to build.

The game slows down the better we produce

Always passionate in execution;

Powered by a dream that’s put to good use,

To spark a leadership revolution.

We are striving to be Impact Players;

Always being creative in the role;

Tie breakers, the movers and shakers;

Willing to work hard and pay the toll.

 

For we do the hard work and we achieve

Superstar status that we can savor.

We are students of the game and believe

That serving others has brought us favor.

We are striving to be Impact Players;

No one questions our talent or drive.

As armored knights, we are dragon slayers,

From medieval times to this moment,

We thrive.

Difference makers willing to trample

The forces of mediocrity;

Who are always leading by example,

And making others better constantly.

We’re decisive without hesitation

From these principles we will not waiver;

Our research and investigations,

Fill us with courage and make us braver.

Copyright © 2017 Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. Review the 10 principles

  2. What are your strengths and where do you need to fortify your efforts?

  3. Pick a strength and an area needing improvement and focus on them today.

  4. Review the book Unlock Your Leadership Greatness by Orlando Ceaser.

  5. Books are available at amazon.com and orlandoceaser.com

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser

31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 29 – Burnout

Scrolls Burnout

 Burnout occurs when we try to do all things and be all things to all people. When we bite off more than we can chew and much more than we can digest. When we are running 100 miles an hour and need to reduce speed and take a rest, but we ignore the warning sign and keep going. Burnout occurs when we fail to acquire the skill to shape our lips and say No.

Burnout has three definitions that I would like for us to consider. The first two are from the Oxford dictionary.

  1. the reduction of a fuel or substance to nothing through use or combustion.

  2. the failure of an electrical device or component through overheating.

The third is from http://www.helpguide.org which defines burnout asa state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. … Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.”

Together these definitions describe a situation where an individual is physically and psychologically drained. This is not a desirable state in high performance individuals or organizations. We are more productive and more valuable to our company and families if we develop strategies to preserve our overall health.

I coined the phrase, “we will kill you if you let us.” This was spoken because I saw people with good intentions, deny their families, allow the workplace to encroach into their living rooms by failing to structure their time and priorities properly. They refused to delegate or ask for help when the workload was too high.

When the burden is great and before it is too late, we must slow down. Review the poem, Slow Down and make a list of tactics you will use to improve work/ life effectiveness. This is a phrase that many organizations use instead of work life balance, because they realize that balance may not be possible.

 

Slow down

How many signals do you need?
A mind is tired,
A body fatigued;
A heart is idling
At high speeds;
As you push harder
To succeed.

You’ve seen examples
Of careers,
That crashed and burned
In overdrive.
You’ve seen the sorrow
In your peers,
Who lived each day,
But never alive.

You better slow down
Before you go down
For the count.
You’re running red lights
And go to bed nights
With what amounts
To a weary heart.

How long have you seen
Warning signs?
How long have you been
Scorning signs?
You awake and
The morning lines,
Are unkind,
For you can’t unwind.

You better slow down
And get the low down
On your soul.
Don’t let the red zone
Lead to a headstone
On the goal.

How many signals do you need?
A mind is tired,
A body fatigued;
A heart is idling
At high speeds;
Create the balance
And succeed.

Copyright © 2001 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from Leadership Above The Rim

By Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. What can you do today to slow down?

  2. What activities can you remove from your plate as you delegate?

  3. Who do you know that has a reputation for being well organized?

  4. What books or other resources can you on time management?

  5. How do you prioritize what’s important to accomplish?

  6. How can you need more of your work at work?

  7. Do you schedule time with your family?

  8. Do you schedule time with your spouse to decompress and relax?

Working Weekend

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser

31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 28 – Courage

Onyourside

Courage is not the absence of fear but proceeding in its presence. Courage is not necessarily acts of bravery against a life-threatening adversary. Courage can be defined as a situation where you are prompted to rise, step forward and risk something, to benefit yourself or others. You must be willing to go to the front of the line to demonstrate bravery. Therefore, Courage is not always about us. It is performed as a practice, a template, a role model to benefit others.

There are instances during a day or a season when you are being watched by your family, group, team, peers and community. How will you respond in difficult situations? When a fear generating dilemma appears, there is a courage stimulating response that is required. How will you respond? Will you be brave?

When an intimidating moment appears in the leadership gauntlet, it is a perfect opportunity to stand up, show courage and be on the front line and take the lead with your people. What does courage look like? It varies with the demand and the scale of the crisis. Courage could mean standing up for them when they are bullied by peers, strangers or management. It could be when unfair assaults on their skills, reputation and performance occurs during a meeting or performance review. Courage could occur during periods of uncertainty when patience and guidance are needed to help someone make it through a frightening predicament.

Courage could also manifest itself in the ability to show weakness, vulnerability, empathy and compassion. Courage provides the opportunity to let down your guard and connect with people. Look for opportunities to show people that you are on their side, that you can identify with them and fight with them. You can roll up your sleeves, join the fight and work with them.

Front-line Leadership

https://youtu.be/bhB6r02clVk

 

When in the clenches or against the ropes

Or in the trenches where it’s hard to cope;

When in the battle to succeed,

On the front line is where you lead.

To make decisions cowards fear to broach,

You’re on the field as player and coach;

To give followers what they need,

On the front line is where you lead.

You are the traction on a slippery slope.

Your plans and action are symbols of hope.

Momentum grows by word and deed,

On the front line is where you lead.

So, by example you show them the way.

You’ve rolled up your sleeves and joined in the fray.

For in the battle to succeed,

On the front line is where you lead.

Reprinted with permission from Teach the Children to Dance

Copyright © 2001 Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. How have you taken the lead to show someone that you are on their side?

  2. How can you demonstrate to someone that you have them back?

  3. Describe a situation when you weren’t there when someone needed you?

  4. Where do you need to show courage more consistently?

  5. Describe a time when you went to bat for someone.

  6. What situations are more difficult for you to show courage?

  7. What is the worst thing that can happen in most situations?

  8. Does the worst thing that can happen, consistently happen?

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser