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

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31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 23 – Spiritual Leadership

MADEfocus (2)

New leaders, in my day, were given 3 pieces of advice. These words were to guide us throughout our business careers. These words could also be a gauntlet for any leader. They have been known to demolish the morale in an organization and destroy someone’s reputation and career. We were told to never get involved in conversations regarding sex, politics and religion.

A new leader had many areas to grow and we did not need to be distracted by these very volatile topics. We can debate the relevance of this advice today, but I would like address one of the topics in a positive way.  We frequently hear about the desire for employees want to bring their entire selves to work.  We cannot deny that spirituality is important for many people.

Spirituality is a key part of our makeup that defines who we are. Organizations may not discuss religion in the workplace, however many of them will provide space for people to reflect, study and pray at work. Organizations should be sensitive and aware enough to encourage religious expression, outside of proselytizing (recruiting) and making others uncomfortable.

Spiritual Leadership in our 31 Day leadership gauntlet refers to the way our spirituality influences our decisions and our interaction with others. It also covers how we express personal values that align with corporate values. Creating a climate where morality, respect, responsibility, integrity, caring and forgiveness are practiced, is essential for a respectful workplace.

 

The Lord is My Leader

The Lord is my Leader I shall not lack

Direction for He is standing at my back;

While in front of me He makes decisions

To meet my needs with ample provisions.

I shall not want for his abundance fills

My cup with affluence and as it spills,

As water flowing from a mountain top,

His goodness and mercy will never stop.

He mends my brokenness

And I find rest,

As He restores my soul,

He refreshes my spirit,

Changes my countenance

And makes me whole.

  

He leads me where the waters are still;

He tutors me as I study His will;

He comforts me in righteousness;

Though I walk through the valley

Of difficult times;

Disease, disasters and immoral crimes

I fear no evil for He

Protects me from my enemies

And loves me though there is sin in me,

And promises me an eternity

Of matchless splendor and serenity.

(Adapted from Psalms 23)

Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser

Practical Reflections

  1. How can we address spirituality in a way that allows people to be comfortable at work while practicing their faith?

  2. Can people gauge from your behavior, the spiritual foundation that influences your leadership style?

  3. Can people of different faiths practice prayer and Bible study in your workplace?

  4. What role does God play in your decision-making process?

  5. Which spiritual values do you illustrate at work?

  6. Do you believe in the second stanza to be true? How powerful is your faith?

  7. God is making you whole as you read this. Discuss the importance of these words. The Lord is your leader.

  8. How are you resting on His promises and finding comfort in His words?

  9. God as a leader has a vision for your life. Discuss your thoughts about his vision for you.

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 19 – Purpose

The opening quote in my book the Isle of knowledge states that “I feel pressure from my purpose to align my passion with my potential.” This sentence illustrates my internal struggle to find my purpose and ensure that it is connected to my passion, so that I realize my potential, and my desire to make a difference in the world.

What is your purpose? We wrestle with the realization that we are blessed and may have talent and opportunity that is not fully utilized. We tend to go with the crowd as it relates to our careers or to align ourselves with what is popular or the most financially rewarding. Information came out recently about the top 10 jobs for the future, which indicated technology was the dominant career choice. Are you a technologically driven person? How do you align technology with your purpose?

You may be in a job that is not rewarding or fulfilling, but it is a job that pays the bills. When you determine your purpose, can you provide space to pursue it and keep your day job? Pursuing your purpose may require you to develop a ‘HIT’ list (Hobbies, Interests, Talents). This may provide the vehicle for you to address and fulfill your purpose.

Your purpose can sometimes be recognized in the things they give you the most excitement or feeling of value. Oftentimes, purpose is not about you, but what you can do for others. Through purpose you may find your significance. During your leadership gauntlet you may encounter a variety of distractions that derail you from finding and fulfilling your purpose. But you may find that within your purpose is God’s plan for your life.

God’s Plan for Your Life

YouTube narration with music 

Once you desired to be,

Who you were wired to be,

But you satisfied friends instead.

Though blessed with talent and skill,

You lacked the courage and will

To follow the dreams in your head.

Your parents hinted at times,

Since they were reaching their prime,

You should let them plan your success.

Therefore, achievements were built

On a foundation of guilt,

Which was geared to their happiness.

You were not strong enough then

To use self-discipline when

You heard the voice of the divine.

In whispers to intervene

He said he placed in your genes

The elements of your design.

Once you conspired to be,

Who you were wired to be,

To match the image of your trade.

You sought the power and fame,

The money, title and name,

In service to the masquerade.

Unplanned events played a role,

You flowed away from your goal,

Imprisoned by the undertow.

You gave into their appeal,

Although the look and the feel,

Was not what you needed to grow.

Through the influence of peers

You alternated careers,

And thus, fulfillment was delayed.

You showed an absence of nerve

And therefore, did not deserve

To prosper from poor choices made.

Now you aspire to be,

Who you were wired to be,

To do all you can with your life.

Committed to seek His will

And use your talents and skill,

To embrace God’s Plan for your life.

Copyright © 2001 Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. What is your purpose?

  2. How did you determine your purpose?

  3. Are you working to fulfill your purpose?

  4. How are other people helping you with your purpose?

  5. What resources are you using, or have you used to clearly define and execute your purpose?

  6. How can you help others to find their purpose?

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

YouTube:

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31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 15 – Look for the Blessing

Look for the blessingPhoto (2)

We are conditioned to complain when things do not go according to plan. We fall into a woe is me or calamity consciousness, only focusing on the bad. This forms a weight around our necks and makes it difficult to swim upstream. We lose our objectivity and dwell on the reasons for our dissatisfaction. Imagine a radical approach. What if we had a shift in perspective and searched for tangible benefits from our disappointments?

Looking for the blessings is counter intuitive and awkward the first few times you do it. It is helpful to ask yourself a series of questions. What value can I get from this mishap? How can this ordeal make me stronger? Where is the silver lining? Is God trying to get my attention and teach me something? Is this a chance to model behavior that could help someone else through a difficult season?

Looking for the blessing will open you to the possibilities of coping better, seizing opportunities, influencing others and personal growth. How will you use this mindset to enrich your day?

Look for the Blessing

In life’s adventures and catastrophes,
When bad things happened magnetically,
I spent considerable energy
In anger, unhappy, impatiently
Driven, then it occurred to me
That it could help me
Become stress free,
If I just looked for the blessing.

When leaving my house late
And the traffic was delayed,
Once frustrated, I never displayed
A sense of reverence,
I never prayed
Or took the time,
To look for the blessing.

I’ve learned there is a purpose in events.
I may have been spared pain and accidents
Or met new challenges that God presents
When He wants me to look for the blessing.

Things happen for His reason
According to God’s plan.
We are too busy to seize them
And take the time to scan
Our surroundings to handle
What we can
Or in essence,
To look for the blessing.

Lord what must I do in this pain?
You want more of me than to complain.
I know in the circumstances
A blessing is contained,
And I should look for the blessing.

There have been setbacks
But I have found,
That if I take the focus off of me
And look around,
There’s a message in a bottle,
Directions to higher ground
If I look for the blessing.

I should seek the opportunity to grow
To render kindness or to bestow
A gift to a stranger,
Or meet someone I need to know
As I look for the blessing.

Copyright © 2001 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from the book “Look for the Blessing” by Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. Tell yourself that you will go through the day searching for opportunities to re-frame your thinking to gain benefits from your calamities.

  2. What challenges have you faced, that help you cope with your current situation?

  3. How can you taken the focus off you, to help others?

  4. Who will you target as individuals you can help with your advice?

  5. Who was able to share their wisdom with you, as they considered the blessings in their lives?

  6. What Scripture has been helpful to keep you focused on God’s goodness?

  7. Practice changing your thinking to look for the gift in the moment.

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

YouTube:

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31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 1 – Gargantuan Goals

Minimalism is the concept of small. To live in a state of not wanting to rock the boat, make waves, or bringing attention to yourself. You want to go through life unnoticed. The minimalist leader does not want to grab anything large, unwieldy, which would require maximum effort. Contrast this to a gargantuan state of mind. Gargantuan refers to being large, enormous, headline grabbing, of significant size.

You have probably heard about the book Good to Great by Jim Collins. He talks about the BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal). They are large and intimidating. They are not for the squeamish or faint of heart. They attracted attention but required enormous cooperation and focus. The BHAG became the rallying cry for many organizations on their way to greatness. The gargantuan goal is a goal of this variety. It is monumental, motivating with the power to establish momentum, as a snowball that starts an avalanche.

Think about your purpose, vision and mission in life. Which gargantuan goals identify to help propel you to your destination?                                                                                                                                                         Gargantuan goals can be defined as enormous objectives that may ultimately have a profound impact. The challenge we face is to avoid timidity and reach for goals that will have a profound impact on the world. It is necessary to set a timeline, a deadline by which we plan to reach or exceed these results.

It would be magnificent to have a vision that encompasses these gargantuan goals in our lifetime. When we speak and act with such boldness, the ripple, chain reaction effect will embolden others to work with us to make this world a better place. These are not just nice to have goals but necessary for our survival.

In Our Lifetime*  https://youtu.be/DiMCh_R8c2U

To stem the flow of violence;

In our lifetime,

Let us pledge

To have courage to stand on the edge

Of fear and shout through the silence

Of apathy and turn the tide

On racism, poverty and genocide.

In our lifetime,

Let us commit to heal

The division among the races

And issue a universal appeal

To love as a spirit that replaces

Selfishness, to release

Old information as new interactions

Help form a foundation for peace,

And heighten our sense of obligation

To change the world,

Through an imperfect nation.

In our lifetime,

We should be known

As contributors, as well as consumers;

And millennials should bond with baby boomers

On major issues whatever they may be,

Freedom, justice and equality;

And serve as activist and catalyst,

Advocate and protagonist,

To diminish, devices of division;

To challenge consensus for the best decision.

In our lifetime,

An enormous task lies before us;

To consciously congeal

Around a greater purpose;

To be strategic as we invest

And endure the chorus

Of special interests;

To build coalitions in our zeal;

To stoke the fires of innovation

For the evolution of new ideas,

To suspend competition,

And collaborate on solutions,

To make our world a better place

For the environment and the human race.

*An excerpt from In Our Lifetime, reprinted from the book FREE by Orlando Ceaser, copyright © Watchwell Communications, Inc.

Personal Reflections

  1. Observe your world and situations in the outside world and decide where you would like to influence.

  2. What bold gargantuan goal can you create to incrementally make the world a better place?

  3. Who will be your partner to discuss your progress?

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

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