A lady I could arm wrestle reminded me of Jesus

Last summer it was HOT!  I didn't know this could happen in the midwest but my lawn got scorched.  That's right, like your brain on drugs my grass got fried (the pun in that sentence just made your head explode). [youtube nl5gBJGnaXs]

In you reader click here to see the video

I drove to the local lawn and garden store and asked for advice on how to treat the problem because the scorched grass has been replaced by weeds.  When I told the store associate my problem she told me to plant new grass in the midst of the weeds.  She also told me not to put weed and feed or any other treatment on the spot until the grass has the chance to fully grow.  

As soon as she made the suggestion my mind went here...

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

Matthew 13:24-43

New International Version (NIV)

Really?  I'm talking to a woman who looks like she could be a great arm wrestling challenge about my scorched lawn and her advice triggers a teaching by Jesus?  Wouldn't it be awesome if you and I could coach and teach like that, in a way where people would encounter the same teaching over and over again?  

Jesus made a teaching stick by:

1.  He knew his audience socially, emotionally, and spiritually - Who they are spiritually determines the material and who they are otherwise determines the method.

2.  He put content to repeatable practices - By speaking to an agricultural community about planting seeds they would constantly re-encounter his story and remember his words.  Even 2000 years later, it came to my mind when I was working on my lawn.

3.  He kept it simple - His point was simple, one will be harvested for good the other will be harvested to be burned.  Sometimes we make application too complicated.  When it doubt go simple.  

As a leader we have to sharpen our ability to provide application to our teaching or coaching.  I think Jesus was pretty good at it, what do you think?

Please leave a comment about what you think made this teaching stick?

What leaders can learn from the donut

Have you ever heard of the law diminishing returns? Let's go to the Wikipedia

Do you need an example?  Let's go to my good friend Jim Rome (we're not real friends but I love his radio show).

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Jim says that the ultimate proof of the law of diminishing returns is the donut.  The first one is amazing.  The second one is still kinda good.  The third one you regret eating.

Perfect example of the law of diminishing returns.

A few years ago I decided that I was no longer going to take a loan on anything that has diminishing value; especially cars!  Unfortunately, leaders make this mistake ALL THE TIME.  I don't mean with cars though, I mean with people.  Proverbs 22:7 reminds us that, "The borrower is slave to the lender."

Here are common thoughts leaders have that are emotional loans with people:

1.  This person will solve my problem.

2.  This person will never walk away.

3.  This person will take gentle care of me.

4.  This person has my best interest at heart.

5.  This person will protect me from harm.

I recently had a person enter into a situation that really needed help and work.  The moon was offered.  Money, time, energy, and community work was promised.  My mistake was thinking, "THIS PERSON is going to fix THIS PROBLEM."  Then reality set in, and what really happened is that I had made myself a slave to the lender.  Volunteers, especially, will always look at a job from the outside and say, "I can do that."  After time they realize that far more is involved than what they thought and things start to diminish, both the work that needed to be done and the relationship.

How do you recognize diminishing return people?  Here are some things to listen for:

1.  They really enjoy saying, "I."  You will probably here that word more than any other word.  "We" is a seldom used word.

2.  They promise what they have to offer will solve your problem

3.  Their arrogance will reach across the table like a third arm and slap you, call you names, and insult your mother.

[youtube qiRzVI80v7c]

4.  When something they committed to doing stalls, they will blame you.

5.  When they call and you see their name in the caller ID your stomach slaps, calls you names, and insults your mother.

6.  You start to realize their circle of influence is much smaller than they say.

As a leader you can not allow yourself to become slave to the lender.  If you go, everyone else follows you.  You can't afford to take emotional loans on relationships that will lead to the law of diminishing returns.

What other traits have you experienced in relationships where the law of diminishing returns plays out?