I was sitting at a dinner table with 4 other couples, one Roman Catholic, one Lutheran, one Southern Baptist and another a Unitarian. Jewish me was seated next to a woman whose father was a Southern Baptist minister. After a glass of wine, she turned to me and asked, “So who do you think Jesus was?”
My response was based on several books I had recently read about the first century B.C.E. and C.E. in Judea, a time that that was of interest to me, as a collector of antiquities from that era. I turned to my dinner neighbor and replied; “I think Yeshu was a rabbi.”
Figure 1 Shekel used in the Temple during Jesus’ lifetime.
I thought that she would be pleased that I acknowledged his existence and his authoritarian status as a Jewish teacher and preacher. But as I saw her face redden, I realized she expected a different answer. After a prolonged minute, she said “He said he was the son of God!” To which my rapid response was, “well, as Jesus himself never wrote anything down, what he said is known to us by others. And in a court of law, that would be considered hearsay.”
I thought she would have a stroke.
So quickly I added; “Would you agree that Jesus’ message was “Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards all men?” “And, if that’s so, we can also agree that whether that message was from Moses, Jesus, Buddah, Vishnu, or Mohammed, it’s a worthy message.” “Let’s agree on the message rather than focusing on the messenger.”
The host of the dinner chimed in; “Yes, let’s focus on the message.” Tensions abated, a battle was averted, and we enjoyed a wonderful meal.
It’s all about perspective. What would God want from his children? Would fighting over the messenger be a goal?
As Christmas is a national holiday and one with a positive message, I celebrate it too. If that’s the day a messenger of peace was born, in my mind, it’s as worthy of celebration as are Lincoln and Martin Luther King’s. Peace is a message worthy of celebration.
Perhaps, that’s the trouble in our world today. We’ve lost sight of the goal, or the WHY behind religion, academics, and government. Instead, we’ve been focused on the HOW or the WHO.
Does it really matter HOW peace is achieved or WHO is promoting the HOW? Are there not many paths towards a goal? Is it worthy of our efforts to say that “my path is the only correct one”? Or, is it better to evaluate a path based on itsdirection and proximity towards the goal?
Frankly, as a God-believer, it’s getting harder to look at what’s happening and say that there’s a divine entity who is OK with his children fighting over whose path towards his goal is more correct.
Focusing on the WHY could help the world. Could it also help your business and your life? Why do you do what you do? What’s the ultimate goal?
Perhaps as we celebrate this Christmas holiday and enjoy the time off, it’s an opportunity to take a step back and evaluate our own WHY. And once that’s become clearer, might anadjustment be warranted? And if so, how?
First WHY, then HOW.
My mission and WHY is clear. I want to help and be of value to others. My priority is my family and those in my sphere of influence. I hope that through these weekly missives I have made some positive contribution. THANK YOU for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my WHY.
P.S. Here’s a Christmas gift. It’s December’s Webinar about year end planning that I did with my fellow coach, Eric Vickery, one of 2 monthly webinars available as part of The Liberated Practice Program.