Wednesday, September 19

Leading Without a Crowbar

Jen and I just watched The Devil Wears Prada. To say I'm not really into fashion would be an understatement, but I enjoyed it. Clever. Thought-provoking. Meryl Streep plays a great character, Miranda--such a formidable boss, she's widely known as The Dragon Lady. Miranda reigns the empire of Runway magazine with brass knuckles. She doesn't hesitate to make the tough calls, no matter whose life she destroys. 

That's always the way of this world's empires. To her credit, Miranda doesn't do it just for herself. She sincerely believes she's serving the best interests of the magazine, and all to make the world a better, more beautiful place.

Every leader has run into this tension: how do you make the world a better place? Always we face difficult choices, and at some point it seems inevitable that you have to choose a difficult means, justified by the good ends you'll accomplish.

But not Jesus. He was the first human leader to establish an empire on freewill. He never threatened his followers or used a crowbar to get them to do things his way. He patiently loved and served, teaching and showing the way of the Kingdom, the way of sacrificial love.

He frequently sent away potential followers which most leaders would have embraced: the rich, the influential, the large crowds. Why? Jesus only wanted people who really wanted to follow him of their own free will.

Today Jesus' reign is growing in this world, and he hasn't used force, manipulation, or threats yet. His reign is growing  through people who willingly say of their own accord, "Your will be done." Today, his will is being done in this world, as a billion people or so choose to die to themselves and follow Jesus' directions. The more I listen to his voice and obey, the more his reign is actualized on this planet. The more people who listen and follow, the more fully his will is done--the more fully his Kingdom comes.

One day the new earth will be created, filled only with people who want to do his will with all their heart and strength. On that day, his Kingdom will have come fully on earth, as it is in heaven. Love will have conquered all, without a single stroke of force. Maybe that's the meaning of "perfect love casts out fear."

Lord, bring your good rule into this desperate world even more fully, today, through me.

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