Today, I am lending my blog to Travis Ziebro.
There’s a moment before the crucifixion of Jesus where the outcome is not yet inevitable to the mass of people gathered. Jesus is in front of Pontius Pilate and this is not a death wish Jesus. This is a fully human Jesus. The same Jesus that a few days later will say, “Father, take this cup from me.”
Jesus stands and waits for Pontius Pilate to speak. Pilate is clearly uncomfortable by the responsibility that has been thrust upon him. You can almost hear the pleading in his voice as he looks at Jesus and says, “Don’t you know I have the power to set you free?”
“You have no power over me except what was given to you from above.”
Jesus is given the opportunity to submit to greater authority and in doing so, simply defers to the greatest authority. He uses his stage to speak not for his benefit, but to provide a teaching lesson.
We have nothing except what has been given to us.
Had Jesus begged for his life, you can see the next moments play out. Pilate is granted a loophole. Jesus is given a stern warning and a punishment just severe enough to pacify the crowd.
And then what?
With his cup taken from him, Jesus becomes a footnote of history rather than the centerpiece of every Christian’s faith.
Control or Love?
In “The Love Driven Man,” Marek Rudak writes about the difference between a Control Driven Man and Love Driven Man. The Control Driven Man seeks to manipulate his environment. The Control Driven Man seeks safety. He wants binary, predictable options that teether him to what is known and comfortable.
Do you know a Control Driven Man? Sure. Peek down any hall of corporate America and there he lingers, bound to titles, to indecision, and to someone else’s judgment of what his life means.
The Control Driven Man is your gregarious coworker, who shakes your hand with a smile and then strategically unloads his complaints about the Project Coordinator. He is doing for some reason, maybe its politically advantageous or he feels underappreciated. Maybe he is an ally of the Project Coordinator and is testing your opinion.
The Control Driven Man is your boss. He is a nice guy who privately confides to you that he is miserable, but has “personal circumstances that make it impossible for me to quit”. Your boss rarely makes any decision of consequence and you can be sure if he does, it was a direct order from above. His main concern is making sure the big boss is happy and “to make it until Friday”.
What do these two archetypes have in common? They are seeking to control their surroundings and force a life they believe is best for them. Their vision is not broad and minimizes their potential. They are in front of Pilate, haggling for a painless outcome.
Ask most people at work how their day is and here’s what you will hear.
“Just another day in paradise.”
“Living the dream!”
“Is it Friday yet?!”’
In the control driven viewpoint, a job is something that has to be barely be tolerated so the pain of existence can be numbed on weekend.
What is the alternative?
Kids Show Us the Love Driven Way
Jesus also taught that to enter the kingdom of God, one had to become like a child. We don’t need to go to the Greek translation to figure out what he meant. There is levity and joy in a child’s heart that we find hard to maintain as adults.
Marek underscores that point in “The Love Driven Man,” sharing that “God designed men for greatness.” This is no more evident than in the dreams of a child which are filled with adventure, mastery, and a great sense of fulfillment.
My son at the berry patch. Hype level 13/10
A child doesn’t have the foresight to manipulate their current life situation to satisfy a future, static vision of what might be best for them. Jesus expounds on the value of a carefree existence further at his famous Sermon on Mount.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own..”
The Love Driven Man walks in the joy of the present. He trusts in the process and wherever that might take him. The Love Driven Man cares little about the Control Driven Man’s agenda and does not get tangled up in that man’s priorities or opinions. The Love Driven Man presses on to the higher calling of discovering his true identity and purpose.
You Control Nothing
Here’s a reality check for the Control Driven Man. Control is an illusion. Oil crashes. Pandemics ravage. Financial markets collapse. And, even in the best of times, with a good cup of coffee in hand and a killer P&L, a pink slip marches to your door.
So if you control nothing, what’s the best way to hold what you are given?
Let your gifts rest in your palm. Don’t cement your identity in the titles of the present or the accomplishments of the past. Have little expectations for the future. Be idea agnostic. Stand up for the little guy if it makes no political sense to do so. Especially when it makes no political sense. Tell your boss the truth if he is looking for an ego scratch. Realize, as Jesus taught us thousands of years ago, that any authority is a gift from above.
It is our hallowed responsibility to make the best of that gift.
Maybe you are in a precarious situation. If you are fortunate to not be in a precarious position today, you will be in a precarious position someday — be it a relationship, job, or social situation. And when that happens, you will have a choice to make:
Control or Love?
Maybe there’s an opportunity to shift blame somewhere else. Maybe that screw-up could be pinned on your employee. Or maybe that precarious situation is a blaring signal to release your expectations, the baggage of the past, and step fully into an unknown and glorious future.