32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
~ Lk 12:32
I suppose I’m getting old.
I don’t know about you, but I like the old heroes the best. I don’t think it boring that the good guys wear white hats and the bad guys wear black hats. Too often these days, you cannot tell them apart when you go to the movies. It seems that the only real difference between the heroes and the villains are their end goals. They too often not only use the same tactics but have the same mindsets otherwise.
It’s the same with comic book heroes. Any more, they seem to have some dark and evil past that haunts them and prods them on rather than the altruistic attitude of wanting right to prevail. Not only that, but “right” is more often defined as “revenge against the bad guys”.
It is interesting, nonetheless, to see how such fictions “evolve” over time. Batman is a very good example of this. I was in junior high school before a teacher told the class that Batman and Robin were originally a parody. I mean, think about it! Batman had no super powers, he wasn’t bitten by some radioactive bat, and he wasn’t exposed to some unknown space radiation. However, he did have a lot of hi-tech toys!
Was there ever anything that he couldn’t fit into his utility belt? I remember one episode where he actually thought he didn’t have something. He realized he had left it in his other utility belt. Well, then it dawned on him that he put the other utility belt in the one he was wearing.
Might Makes Right
One thing about most superheroes was that they had the power to right wrongs, but they never really had the authority. They were mavericks, and ones like Spiderman were actually often viewed as criminals, whereas ones like Superman had an odd relationship with law enforcement in which they looked the other way while he worked outside of the law.
There certainly are two things at odds here: 1. The desire to right wrongs as much as one is capable of, and 2. The authority to carry out such actions. Unfortunately, this leads to a “might makes right” scenario rather than objective right and wrong.
This is quite different than God’s way of doing things. Right now, He is working not with the strong and those with power, but rather He is working with those who are weak and often the most helpless.
26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
~ 1Co 1:26-27
Right now, God’s people don’t have the power to change the world. We have neither the power nor the authority.
However, there is one area where all of us have authority, even when we don’t always have the power. That is over ourselves. We have the right to choose what we will do, whether it be right or it be wrong. Each and every one of us has that choice, even though we don’t necessarily get to choose the circumstances within where we exercise it.
That’s important in two different ways.
First of all, God always starts small. Jesus did not call His Church a “little flock” for no reason. You want to know for sure which organizations can be eliminated as being part of His Church? Look for a worldwide domineering church that wields great power. That will be the antithesis of God’s Church.
God started the world with one couple. God cleansed the earth and saved only 8 people. God called one man out of Ur of the Chaldees. His father came with him but died before he could complete the journey. His nephew came with him, but he later separated. God started a nation with one person and his (at that time) barren wife.
Even Israel was not the largest of nations by any means when it came out of Egypt.
7 The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:
~ Dt 7:7
The other is to understand the boundaries of what we have authority over and what we do not.
Everyone has some area of authority, even if it is as small as to whether or not to eat a meal. Even prisoners are usually afforded that right.
However, virtually everyone has authority that extends beyond these. We may be given responsibilities at work, which means we have the authority to carry out certain functions. If not, then it really is not a responsibility, no matter how much someone “up above” may tell you.
Parents have a responsibility to raise their children. Those who do not often have their children taken away from them at minimum.
I have written quite a bit about authority here, so I don’t care to repeat it right now. Let’s just say that we often spend our lives defining and redefining our areas of authority as various circumstances and we ourselves age and change over time.
Part of that process is finding the boundaries of who has authority over us and for what. Jesus said to pay attention to the religious leaders who sat in Moses’ seat, but John and Peter disobeyed them when it went against the command that Jesus gave to spread the Gospel. I have found that far too many stray to one or the other extreme, however, either wanting to be a “lone Christian” or have someone else do their thinking for them.
Microclimates and Microcultures
A Christian is in training. We will be kings and priests. We will be leaders in the world Tomorrow. We must be learning about leadership now.
Kevin Eikenberry runs a successful Leadership blog. He had an interesting take on “Workplace Culture Lessons From An Unlikely Place“. It starts with him noticing a single six inch branch that was not blooming on a tree that was full of blooms. It was a “microclimate”, which is an area that can be as small as a few square feet or as large as a few square miles where the atmospheric activity differs from the surrounding area.
Businesses and organizations also have a microclimate, according to Eikenberry. However, in English it is called a company culture. Within those organizations, there are pockets of influence where leaders exert that influence to change their microculture around them.
Lead by Example
You know, it is all nice and well that we say we lead by example, but what does that really mean? Far too often, it seems, we stress the things we are to separate from rather than the things we should be influencing. I realize we are to come out of the world, but we are put in various places for a particular reason as well. Do we use that authority and power wisely?
And, if we do not exercise it properly, can we be trusted with real power when we are given it?
Leading by example is fine, but who does Jesus commend when He returns? Those who kept to themselves or those who reached out to better others?
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.