Embracing the Father

My children are coming to the age where they are realizing that they have power: power to debate, to move others and to stand their ground.  Often times, the fertile soil for testing these powers is in their relationship with one another.  So today after the third stand-off, I believe over who was to start the dishwasher or something of that do or die sort, I decided it was time we had a little talk.  A talk about what it means to lead - as Jesus leads.

The idea of leadership has been an area of thought for me lately, because I've been blessed with both a boss and a pastor that each lead with grace.  I've been amazed at what a difference it makes in my ability to be creative, excited, free and energized in what I do.  Being under life-giving leadership has really caused me to step back and reevaluate what it means to lead.  Because, if you know me well, I like to lead.  Leading by clearing the path and bringing people through, even if I have to drag them through.  But learning to lead, by grace, first, with patience, hope and belief in those that follow, that is a new one for me; in fact it is a challenge.

So back to our little talk this morning, it led us to Mark 9:33-37 in The Message.  The beauty embedded in these verses caught me by surprise:

 They came to Capernaum.
When he was safe at home, he asked them,
 “What were you discussing on the road?”
This totally made me smile, especially since I was talking to my kids. Of course He knew what they were talking about.
34 The silence was deafening
(Um, yeah, they knew they had been caught.)
—they had been arguing with one another over who among them was greatest.
35 He sat down and summoned the Twelve.
(Do you see the grace in His approach...)
“So you want first place?
Then take the last place.
Be the servant of all.”
36-37 He put a child in the middle of the room.
Then, cradling the little one in his arms (...and the tenderness?),
he said,
“Whoever embraces one of these children
as I do embraces me,
 and far more than me—God who sent me.”
Here's the thing.  My kids are black and white, solid, logical thinkers.  Why in the world would they want to be a servant to their sibling? (These words finding echoing friends in the chambers of my own thoughts).  But the images Jesus creates - they take us out of our paradigm and He changes the whole conversation.  I saw things in a whole new way during this discussion:
Jesus wants us to view the others with the same gentleness, tenderness and care that we would a baby.  This means they are precious to Him and should be precious to us.  And then, then He takes it one step further, this act of tenderness and compassion becomes a place of blessing for us.  By embracing (holding tenderly in our arms with care and compassion) we are embracing Jesus and not only Him, but God as well.
Personally, I had never seen these verses this way before.  Be a servant. Suck it up. Do the right thing because you have to! That's what I always saw before.
But this, this has shaken me, awakened me, excited me.  Perhaps it will do the same for you.
In Christ,

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