First and Last

Revelation 22:13

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

Mark 10:31  &  Luke 13:30

But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

Our culture admires those who come in first. We give them recognition, rewards, and hold them up as a standard of greatness. On the other side, those who finish last are not even mentioned nor rarely identified. We generally classify them as a loser of losers.

Yet Jesus destroyed the concept of first and last from a humanistic perspective and reserved the title for himself.

With two parables, Jesus superimposed the concept just because one is first or one comes last doesn’t give them priority in God’s eyes. In Matthew’s writing, the narrative of Labors in the Vineyard emphasizes he who owns can distribute how he wants too without any outside conditions. In this case God owns and he can adhere to your conditional promises or he can choose to be generous and give more than agreed too. Since it is HIS, HE doesn’t have to comply to someone else’s rules or expectations.

Again, Luke writes a similar statement in chapter thirteen that being chronologically first or last may be a human perspective of importance, but God works on a different value system. HE will shake up people’s semblance of fairness and determine people’s position of leadership as HE chooses for HIS Kingdom’s government.

Jesus’ own life blows apart the importance mankind places on being first or last. He preached a message of the Kingdom of God which will rule the world. His disciples believed it would happen in their life time. During the three plus years Jesus trained and prepared them for leadership, he also mentioned several times that his mission will eventually lead to his death. They didn’t truly understand that message until after his ascension into heaven. Until then, they continue to jockey for position of leadership within HIS kingdom where even onetime John’s mother asked Jesus to make both her sons sit next to HIM on his throne.

Our culture emphasizes winning over losing. Jesus’ value system places greater emphasis on first serving others. To win or to lose are temporary states of events. Serving others though is a lifetime process which leads to help others win. Losing is the school of discovering oneself and improving oneself for better service for others.

The real winner who has already taken the title is Jesus. He is the Alpha and the Omega. The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. He started the entire human process called LIFE and he will be there at the end when humanity is totally resurrected into a new age.

We are his students putting into practice values which create a world which allows all to flourish. In our lifetime, we will win and lose. There will be times we will be first in line and times we will be last in line. It doesn’t matter. What matters is God freely living HIS life in you where you reflect HIS glory for the sake of others.  Remember, Jesus has already taken the first and last position of the most important event you are involved with – your Life.   

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Lead People; Manage Systems

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,” Deuteronomy 30:19

people 1

 

One problem I noticed over the years with new supervisors and managers is the tenancy to manipulate people. In most cases, they do not realize what they are doing. They simply act in a way to get the results that they seek.

We see this with parents raising children. When one has young children, it is easy for the parent to control the actions of the child. They can use fear and punishment to produce the results that they desire. However, as the child grows and becomes a teenager, the parent needs to learn to adjust their leadership skills. For then, the child begins to reason and think for themselves. They are not afraid of the same consequences of their earlier childhood. Now the parent needs to take the time to reason and debate with the young adult. If not, the child will quickly rebel, and the conflict becomes a war zone. Likewise, when the child becomes a full adult, the relationship again changes. The parent cannot use the same techniques from childhood with their adult child(in most cases). Now the relationship is less about control and more about freedom of choice. The consequences may be the same, but the means change.

The same is true in the business organization where adults work with adults. Novice supervisors confuse the management of systems with the leadership of people. When one focuses on trying to manage people like systems, conflict will arise. Systems are designed to measure and move through a process to accomplish a specific objective. People are led through engagement and expectations of consequences. Systems are logical, heartless, and predictable. People are emotional, soulful, and unpredictable. Systems can be quickly changed and modified for expected results with little feedback. People need time to grow and mature until full mastery of the workload is learned.

Don’t confuse systems and people. Each are necessary for an organization to fully realize its potential and service for others. Yet both require a different approach. God doesn’t work with people the same way he works with animals. Animals are born with instinct. People are born with learned behavior. The animal’s potential is limited. The person’s potential is unlimited. Lead your people with the realization that their potential is greater than yours. Manage your systems with the realization that they give you the process and feedback to make you unique in the business community. But don’t confuse the two when working with each. How would you like God to confuse you with the inertia of gravity? Hope that isn’t too radical for you?

We are rooting for you!

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married

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