1 Samuel 17 (David and Goliath)
Message, 2 Timothy 2.8 – 3.9
September 1, 2013
It’s the first long weekend in the school year. It’s the last weekend party of the summer
season. Football is getting
started. Sometimes we forget that this
holiday has its roots in conflict, the conflict between labor and management, a
story full of violence, exploitation, politics, power, and conspiracy. Happy Labor Day!
of labor unions in our time, though that is an important question worthy of
vigorous – and civil – debate. Today, we
are going to talk about leadership and conflict.
It is a workplace
issue, whether we are labor or management, whether we’re in a small
business or a non-profit, whether we find ourselves in an established
institution or a start up.
It is a family
issue – when we’re encouraging dad to give up his keys; when we’re
surprised by the terms in grandma’s will; when domestic violence erupts; when a
sister or brother, a son or a daughter, struggles to get their lives together
and comes back – for the umpteenth time – for help that you just don’t want to
It is a church
issue – no examples needed! Suffice
to say, the apostle Paul, writing to a church full of conflict and seeking to
end some of it, actually admits, “Indeed, there have to be factions among you,
for only so will it become clear who among you are genuine” (1 Corinthians
11.19). I appreciate the realpolitik
recognition that a Christian theological response to conflict is not so simple
as “Why can’t we all get along?”
enough it is an internal issue.
In the book of James, we read: “Those conflicts and disputes among you,
where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war
within you?” (James 4.1). Far too
frequently, our stress level is caused by our own desires, contrary to one
another and impossible to satisfy all at once.
We’d like to blame someone else for that, but that’s another desire that
doesn’t really help, isn’t it? And, it
is where the practice of leadership truly begins – in healthy self-awareness,
one of the four pillars of leadership development in the Jesuit tradition
(Christopher Lowney, Heroic Leadership).
focus on the advice Paul gives to Timothy, a young leader in the church and one
of Paul’s proteges. In the first part of
the letter, which Mark Dodson shared with us last week, we hear Paul reflect on
legacy – the legacy of the faith that goes back to the beginning of time, the
family legacy in Timothy’s mother and grandmother, and the legacy of the church
– as Paul teaches Timothy, so Timothy is to teach others.
the word of God is not chained.
I endure everything” (2 Timothy 2.9-10)
Powell and Ronald Reagan (Global Leadership
not my problem
regarding what is truly important
(and courage – David v Saul) through resistance
for tough decisions
will be lovers of themselves, money, … pleasure” (3.2-4)
have to be willing to be wrong, to be disliked
a kind word, but Paul uses it!
nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies” (2.23)
of insult: moron (root of our English), ignorant, c/rude
over words (2.14), semantics, tomato-tomato
chatter (2.16), devalues other people, ideas, contributions
must not be
quarrelsome, but kind (2.24)
who loves a quarrel, loves sin” (Proverbs 17.19, NIV)
outcry, little outcome
and Philetus, “upsetting the faith of some”, 2.17
Jambres (Moses, earth swallowed, “folly plain”, 3.9)
Bloom Energy, K. R. Sridhar
tech start up, no prima donnas
is more important than individual
we are together (values) than the bottom line
disciples of Jesus, this is the BIG PICTURE
of stupid stuff … practice reconciliation
… in our own lives – Eucharist and church discipline
Colin Powell, address given at Global Leadership Summit 2013
(Willow Creek Association).
Liz Wiseman & Greg McKeown, 2010, Multipliers: How
the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter,
Christopher Lowney, Heroic Leadership