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

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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 27 – Fatigue

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You must be aware that fatigue it is one of the obstacles you will encounter going through the leadership gauntlet. Self-health will strengthen your mental physical and spiritual well-being. When we are fatigued, we cannot do our best work. We are not able to think clearly or created. I’ll run down feeling of low energy also reduces our productivity. A key component of is the amount of rest we receive. The sleep foundation says that “While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Children and teens need even more. And despite the notion that our sleep needs decrease with age, most older people still need at least 7 hours of sleep.” Are you getting enough sleep every night?

Secondly, we are surrounded by date to increase our awareness of nutritional foods and those products that may be good for us. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, NHLBI suggests that we have a healthy eating plan.  “A healthy eating plan: Emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Limits saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars.”

In my book, the Isle of Knowledge I focus on the mantra that I use every day. I want to get my REPS in as a part of my normal routine. R stands for reflection. I begin each day thinking about the day and the activities that lie before me. E is for exercise. It may be simple calisthenics stretching or going to the club for more rigorous activity, such as lifting weights, running or participating in a spinning class. P is for prayer to ensure that I am spiritually centered. S is for study, which requires light reading to establish continuous learning. The study may be at the beginning of the day, during the day or at night before I go to bed.

You would agree with me that you do your best work when you are rested. Your ability to last and avoid fatigue is influenced by your eating habits, exercise routine and the amount of sleep you receive.

I’m Better When I’m Rested

I’m better when I’m rested

And have strength when I’m tested;

Experience in life has made me wise.

My mind is far from fragile,

For mentally I’m agile;

When judgment’s muscle gets exercise.

I’m better when I’m at peace;

In solitude I release

The worries and factors that lead to stress.

My problems have solutions,

My plans have executions,

That raise the likelihood of success.

I’m better when I’m rested.

My mind is not congested;

Thoughts across the synapse accelerate;

For sleep enriches, fortifies;

Ideas that I synthesize

As I, subconsciously create.

I’m better when I’m rested;

Resolved when I’m contested;

To conquer waiting enemies with zeal.

I’ve come to the conclusion

That sleep prevents confusion;

Performance mirrors the way I feel.

Copyright © 2001 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from Teach the Children to Dance

By Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflection

 

  1. How much sleep do you consistently receive?

  2. Do you feel sluggish or fatigued?

  3. Do you have a sensible diet?

  4. When was the last time you had a physical checkup?

  5. What do you do for relaxation?

  6. What hobbies, interests or talents do you have?

  7. Do you have a consistent exercise regimen?

  8. What is the number one health related issue that you need to address?

  9. Who will be your accountability partner to reach your health goals?

  10. When will you start?

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 26 – Arrogance

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Pharmaceutical sales representatives are familiar with the customer referred to as the “Know-it-all doctor.” The connotation was not just a physician who knew everything, but an individual who was arrogant and spoke to people in a condescending manner. There was a feeling of superiority which made it difficult to deal with others. The air of arrogance made it hard to be effective as a leader. The person who knows everything and feels no one can teach them anything, is difficult to talk to and may not be open to receiving important information.

Many times, we use arrogance to cover-up for an insecurity. We don’t want people to recognize a deficiency in some aspect of our behavior and we do not wish to be challenged. On other occasions we do not wish to be questioned because we feel we are better than everyone. Humility is not a skill that makes them comfortable.

When you make the commitment to move beyond arrogance, it must be done with authenticity. Here is an example of what not to do. A manager received feedback that addressed his arrogance of feeling he was always right. It revealed that he did not listen to his direct reports, did not solicit their comments, but when they were given, he would not value or use them. It was described as follows.

He would adopt the stance of a good listener, someone concerned about his staff’s point of view. He would lean forward, establish direct eye contact and use transitional phrases such as, go on, is that so, I did not know that and tell me more. At the conclusion, he would thank them for their courage and valuable input. He would close by saying, he was glad to have the opportunity to know how they felt, but he would continue with his idea and the original plan. His subordinates were confused and wondered why ask for their opinions and bother going through such a pointless exercise. His actions curtailed their ideas and reduced trust. Why give comments if they did not matter?

Personalize your actions to prevent arrogant behavior by focusing on these areas.

  1. Beware of arrogant tendencies.

  2. Listen to others.

  3. Involve others in your decision making

  4. Include their ideas to show you value their suggestions

  5. Do not respond in a threatening manner when you don’t like what you hear

People do not wish to support the arrogant person. They may withhold information. They may watch someone go down the wrong path and remain silent. They will surely not give them their best effort. They will do just enough to keep their jobs. They will engage in OMDB (Over My Dead Body) behavior and thinking. Review the poem below and reflect on it and discuss with others.

Many of us may be blind to our arrogant ways. In order to change we must be open to critical remarks without taking them personally. Act as if people may feel you are arrogant, and request insight. A manager read the poem below and was offended, for it struck a nerve. He was offended by the content because he thought I was speaking to him. However, members of his staff contacted me and confirmed that it was an accurate depiction of his arrogant leadership style. Let’s act as if this might be the case. Remove personal anxiety and allow people the opportunity to give you comments that are good for everyone.

You Might Not Be A Leader

You may have been a superstar in sales;

An individual who never fails,

But, if you can’t ensure the group prevails,

You might not be a leader.

If vision is absent and no one cares,

If knowledge is power, you will not share;

If you look behind you and no one’s there;

You might not be a leader.

If you did not earn stripes or pay your dues;

If faced with decisions, you fail to choose;

If people ask for help and you refuse,

You might not be a leader.

A passive aggressive management style,

If your deficiencies are in denial;

Too selfish to journey the extra mile,

You might not be a leader.

When seen as a puppet of management,

To throw teammates under the bus is meant,

As a symbol of brewing discontent,

You might not be a leader.

If you lack trust and thought to be lying

And giving feedback is terrifying,

Here is a fact that’s not worth denying,

You might not be a leader.

You feel emotional intelligence

Are soft skills without any relevance,

And being vulnerable makes no sense,

You might not be a leader.

If given a job that’s over your head;

If you cannot reach them, the word will spread,

If you cannot teach them, it will be said,

You might not be a leader.

Copyright © 2019 Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. Do you solicit input from others?

  2. Do you use ideas presented by your staff?

  3. Do you speak down to others when they state their opinions?

  4. Do you involve others in your decision making?

  5. Review stanzas and lines that relate to arrogance in self and others.

  6. Do people come to you for advice on a frequent basis?

  7. How do you receive feedback on your impact?

  8. Does your impact match your intent?

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 23 – Spiritual Leadership

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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