Monthly Archives: August 2013

Time Out!

Jesus and Crowds – Matthew 8:1 and 18 reference completely different accounts of Jesus’ relation with crowds.  This is surprisingly different for someone who came to spread a message – the crowd being the best medium, or is it?

He attracted crowds but he didn’t live for the crowds.  He lived for his Father’s will, wherever that took him – to the crowd or away from the crowd.

“Great crowds followed him,” and, “when Jesus saw the crowd … he gave orders to go over to the other side.”

Crowds have a compelling and numbing effect upon us.  If we see our lives through ‘the crowd’ we don’t have a life (ultimately).  An addiction to crowds is still an addiction, and the problem with addictions is their awful habit of providing diminishing returns.

The danger of crowds was faced by Jesus in the temptation in the wilderness, described in frank and bold terms by Matthew in chapter 4 of his gospel.  Jesus overcame the compelling gravitational attraction of the crowds and their false promises then.  They can as easily turn on you as laud you – as proven in the entrance to Jerusalem and his trial and crucifixion.

He came for the crowds but he didn’t live for the crowds.

He both ministered to and avoided them.

Knowing the difference is a matter of wisdom and guidance.


A self-possessed person can both work with the crowd and walk away from the crowd.  Both are necessary.

Time out.


For Example

For Example.

Phil Beuckler, someone worth knowing, commenting on the well known axiom that ‘leadership is influence’ begs to differ suggesting, rather, that leadership is example – leading to the art of authentic imitation. This isn’t to discount influence, he stresses, but it does make ‘example’ of prime importance. I concur, especially as it relates to Christian leadership.

In our roles as followers of Jesus and leaders we are asked to both teach the scriptures, and be an example of our teaching. It’s as simple, as profound and as demanding as that – little more, nothing less.

But this assumes two things. Actually, it demands them.

The first is that we read, we digest, we inhale and exhale, delight in and remain addicted to the Word of God. This means we have something to say, something we believe in, something to communicate. It means we are getting our own ‘message,’ appropriate insights and encouragement for those we are responsible for, and not borrowing, plagiarising, late on Saturday evening cramming, the messages of others.

You have something you need to say, provided you have it to say.

Teaching alone, however and no matter how revelatory, doesn’t cut it.

Something else is required, a necessary corollary of teaching. This is the second demand. We are to live what we teach.
If we are to be an example we need to be seen. Your life can’t be hidden nor distant to those you teach. Your faith, your patience, your love for family and spouse, your integrity, your lifestyle are to be observable and transparent – an example.

You just can’t do this if you are never in community, in connection, nor can you if you are professional leader who sees Sunday as ‘the’ event. The message we speak is more than the ‘event’ we speak it at. It is seen in the life we life as well. In other words – you have to be seen otherwise your message is not your message, because your message is you, which is what you do as much as what you say.

Incarnation of truth is the only way people can imitate truth. We do what we see and not merely what we hear.

Be your message, be seen being your message – for example.

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