Here’s The Only Thing That Works

by Rich Dixon on April 15, 2014

thing-called-loveI’m continually fascinated by how many people see Jesus as a control freak.

As I learn more about Him, I see no evidence that He cared about rigid external rules. Jesus was about radically transforming hearts, and you don’t do that through fear and punishment.

I spent a bunch of time over the weekend talking to a man who’s devoted most of his life to helping men overcome additions. When I asked what he’d learned he replied, “Punishment doesn’t work. You can’t change behavior through fear. The only thing that works, long-term, is love.”

Honestly, I don’t get why that’s so hard to get.

If you believe Jesus was who He said He was, then you believe He had the power to force everyone to conform. If He wanted rules and consequences, one snap of His fingers would have brought all the armies required to enforce compliance. I’ll bet a few well-placed lightning bolts would have whipped folks into shape fairly quickly.

This week we remember His choice to surrender. We acknowledge His decision to set aside power and control, to walk the path of service. We marvel at His willingness to wash His disciples’ feet.

We’ll gather on Easter and commemorate Jesus’ example of sacrificial service which demonstrates that His way didn’t involve control.

There’s no way to leave Easter with a single impression. But my friend’s comment focused my attention on the principle that guided Jesus’ life. He was never about punishments, power, coercion, fear or rules.

Love is what works.

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by Rich Dixon on April 14, 2014


I’ve noticed something lately that prompts today’s word-of-the-week…


MondayI notice two distinct groups of leaders with a large gap between them.

In one group I find people who acknowledge others mostly when they need something from them. They talk about servant leadership, but careful observation reveals that they’re not spending much time with anyone who’s not doing something for them or feeding their agenda in some manner.

They’re insulated by an inner circle whose central function seems to be to guard their time.

Folks in the other group spend a lot of time asking, “What can I do for you?” They answer their own phones more often. They return email and phone calls.

They’re far less likely to be shielded by an assistant with an ironclad schedule and a possible opening in a few weeks.

# # #

These groups of leaders aren’t distinguished by the size or success of their organizations. Some in the second group lead large, complex teams, while some in the first group lead relatively small teams. Both groups include leaders from business, non-profit, ministry, and civic organizations.

The difference, from what I can tell, is the way these people spend or invest their time.

The first group regards time with a scarcity mentality. They hoard it as though it can only be shared with special, important people.

Folks in the second group regard time with an abundance mentality. They don’t waste it, but they’re not afraid to spend it, either. And they’re certainly not handing it out only to those who “deserve” it.

They almost lavish time on others as though it was love.

It’s not my place to tell others how to manage their time. But this is a good reminder for me, because I want to be in the second group.

I don’t want to be the guy who has time only for those who can do something for me in return.

It’s Monday. Might be a good day to remember that “servant leader” is more than a catchy phrase.

Have a great week.

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