Thursday, January 25, 2018

"There is No Such Thing as a Compliant Warrior"

Matthew 19.8, 17b, 21 NAS

“Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.”

“...if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

“...if you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and com, follow Me.”

I am intrigued by a line from Michael Gerber’s wonderful book on small business development entitled The E-Myth Revisited:

“Let me repeat once more that great quote by Don Juan in Carlos Castaneda’s A Separate Peace: ‘The difference between a warrior and an ordinary man is that a warrior sees everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man sees everything as either a blessing or a curse.’ ”[1]

Carlos Castaneda’s “warrior” is an individual who accepts the challenge to make a difference. An “ordinary man”, on the other hand, accepts his station in life with passive neutrality. He may expertly clarify and define his circumstances, but he receives them as fated and without complaint.

Now there’s an interesting word… complaint. Flip two letters and you have nearly the opposite meaning… compliant! A compliant person will not dare to register a complaint. Domineering leaders depend on compliance and feed off “ordinary” people. They squash complainers with accusations of non-compliance while invoking near-divine authority for themselves. This may go down well with “an ordinary man” but the tactic will incense a “warrior.” There is no such thing as a compliant warrior. People who accept “everything as a blessing or a curse,” will not “challenge” the status quo. They are destined to be victims of their own circumstance. Trading inner stress for artificial harmony, they acquiesce to greater powers without thought of making a difference in even their small worlds. Warriors embarrass ordinary people who long ago decided to give up the idealism that characterizes progress of the soul.

Twice in chapter 19 of the gospel of Matthew, Jesus presented the ‘Ordinary Man – Warrior’ choice. First, to the Pharisees on the subject of divorce. Yes, the Law and “Moses permitted divorce,” but there was a better way. An “ordinary man” will harden his heart and run to divorce as an easy way out of a difficult marital union. A “warrior” will contend for the success of his marriage.

“Jesus said, ‘Moses provided for divorce as a concession to
your hardheartedness, but it is not part of God’s original plan.’ ”
Matthew 19.8 The Message

Next, in verses 16-26, Jesus offered the rich, young ruler the ‘Ordinary Man – Warrior’ choice. He assured the wealthy man of the inheritance of eternal life if he continued to keep the simple commandments not to murder, steal, lie, cheat on his wife, etc. The man’s record was clean but in asking, “What am I still lacking,” the rich guy betrayed his unhappiness with the “ordinary” life. Jesus responded with an opportunity to join ranks with the warriors of the faith.

“If you are serious about reaching the goal, go and sell your possessions,
give to the poor, and you shall have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Matthew 19.21 Complete Jewish Bible

How do I trade in all remnants of my smug and “ordinary” existence for the faith-based life of a “warrior” for Christ? Recruit me, Jesus!

[1] E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, Michael E. Gerber, Harper Collins, 1995.

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