Jesonian: Mastering Service … September 21, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2358)

john marcus

John Marcus was a “householder.”

It was the title granted to the colored slave to afford just enough dignity with a King James flavor, without bestowing elaborate honor for his needful subservient status.

Yes, John Marcus did it all. Cook, clean, repair, blacksmith, minister, caretaker and physician.

And because he took the jobs on–often that no one else wanted, including the white family which became very accustomed to being served–he was granted more and more liberty to work solo in order to achieve his ever-expanding, sophisticated results.

Today he was given a new job. He was to be mentor, and even punisher if necessary, to a belligerent sixteen-year-old runaway named Zachary. The little tyrant was placed in his care to train and also temper into achieving his place as a worker on the plantation.

So John Marcus decided to give the angry lad the job of cleaning the pots and pans. It was done alone in the back room of the kitchen and could be achieved even by a fitful worker without destroying too much private property.

When Zachary got John Marcus alone, far from prying ears, he shouted, “Why do you walk around with a smile on your face playing good house nigger?”

John Marcus smiled and gave no response, wiping the bottom of a dirty pot as any good instructor just might do.

After a good season of pan-scrubbing, Zachary challenged again. “Are you deaf? Why do you give in to the Massa?”

John Marcus paused, ceasing to scrape at the blackened pans. He stepped about five paces away and gently and tenderly stirred a cauldron of delicious stew he was nurturing for the evening’s consumption.

Zachary shook his head.

Suddenly John Marcus spoke. “There’s one Massa. His name is Jesus. He told me that the only way to gain mastery in life is to serve.”

“Weak words,” spit Zachary.

John Marcus chuckled. “And where have your strong words gotten you, boy? Lassoed? Drug through the dirt? Rejected? Listenin’ to some old man chaw at’cha while you’re scrubbin’ pans? And you know what else? You’ll be here scrubbin’ these same pans, cursin’ these same whites two years from now, nary feelin’ any better or makin’ any progress.”

Zachary shook his head again. “I’d rather be an angry man than a happy nigger.”

John Marcus took him by the shoulders and looked him square in the eye. “That’s because you don’t know what happy is because you’re too busy bein’ angry. I don’t like what’s happenin’ around me, but I know one thing. It’s not gonna change tomorrow. It’s gonna be the same next week. Probably even by Christmastime, I’m still gonna have the same color they have decided is less than ‘dem. But I know this–if I believe they’re wrong, then there’s a God in heaven who knows it, too. And He told me there ain’t nothin’ a man sows that he doesn’t eventually have to pull up out of the ground and reap, and eat. So I’m workin’ on what I sow. I’m quietly learnin’ more than they want me to, and there are things around this ‘ole fifty-three acres that nobody knows how to do but me. Because when it came time for doin’ it, I learned it. And they were completely happy with me bein’ the pack mule.”

Zachary interrupted. “So what? So you’re a smart nigger without ever being able to be called smart, and being able to take the smart and use it for yourself.”

“Maybe so. But every time I master something of service and I serve it well, I gain the attention of the master who controls this household and I make myself of great value. Just the other day, young boy, several of the farm hands who own the plantation just south of here had to come to me to find out how to fix their plowshare and what to do for an ailing mule. Did they appreciate it? See, it doesn’t make any difference. In that minute, they had to admit they needed me. Maybe they choked on it; maybe they refused to completely give in. But they needed me. My Master is Jesus, and he told me that the more I serve, the more territory I gain.”

Zachary just shook his head, but he returned to his labor with a bit more respect.

In March of 1861, John Marcus passed away. He was the only slave allowed to be buried in the far corner of the white cemetery. Many of the townsfolk turned out to see the old servant put to rest. He had made more friends than enemies and to the surprise of a young worker who had finally adopted his philosophy…

Yes.

Zachary was set free.

It was the last request made by a servant to a plantation owner … but granted because of the teachings of a greater Master. 

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

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Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

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Populie: Stand Up for Yourself … June 18, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2267)

 fightingTo gain any understanding of human relationships, we must learn the difference between bullying and physical abuse.

There is no doubt that if a we are physically attacked, a certain amount of defense is necessary to protect ourselves. Yet to channel that aggression into our everyday lives simply because we are dealing with critics, bullies and self-centered opponents is to open the door to cynicism and allow ourselves to become defensive and jaded.

There is a popular belief that we are required to defend ourselves against personal assault. The populie is that we should stand up for ourselves in all circumstances and never allow anyone to put us down.

Religion loves this simply because it allows them to drain creaky energy from the Old Testament, which permits a much more vindictive attitude towards those who are their enemies. (Allow me to warn you–every time you use the Old Testament to support your spiritual and emotional choices, you are denying the purpose for the lifestyle of Jesus.)

Politics loves “stand up for yourself” because it opens the door to deniability. In other words, even though you’ve done stupid or careless things, as long as you can deny them and act offended by the assertion, you can outlast your critics. This is the way politics works.

And of course, entertainment wants to put the hero in the corner with his or her back against the wall, and then have them fight their way to acceptance or freedom, to the applause and cheers of those who bought a ticket and a bucket of popcorn.

But if everybody in the world retaliates when challenged, then we will spend all of our time putting out brush fires of arguments instead of discovering the truth about ourselves and better ways to live.

Candidly, I almost didn’t write this essay because I knew my approach on this issue would be unpopular and even considered unnatural. But the greatest thing you can do when accused, verbally attacked, questioned or placed in a corner is to refuse to participate in the exercise because it only leads to a back-and-forth, meaningless futility. I attack you, you attack me, we attack each other, and then everyone around us is forced to take sides.

Writing a daily column on the Internet constantly puts me at risk of being questioned or even ambushed by people who choose to be critical of the work of others instead of venturing an effort of their own. I have developed a three-step process for everything I do in my life:

1. I said it.

In other words, as long as you’re quoting me correctly, I don’t have any problem with your disagreement and I refuse to question how you approach your comment. You are entitled to be upset with my words, my life and my choices. The power I have is in standing behind my words, my lifestyle and my choices.

I am not sure I know the value of an apology that begins with, “If I offended you … ”

When I offend you, I will apologize dearly, but if my mere beliefs and presence is a source of annoyance to you, I will continue my life and pray that you get over it.

2. I did it.

I am hungry and thirsty to see and hear human beings admit what they’ve done without clarification, excuse or defensiveness. I will tell you right now, if Richard Nixon had admitted what he knew about the Watergate break-in, been honest about his involvement and shared it immediately, he would never have been forced to resign.

I don’t know when we started thinking that diversion, lying, cheating and misrepresentation can ever win the day. Not only will the truth make you free, but if you reject the freedom, your sins will find you out.

3. This is who I am.

It doesn’t mean I’m not working on getting better; it doesn’t mean I’m always right. Certainly there are things I could learn from you. Yet I got over the need to pretend when I stopped being a child.

This is who I am.

I know there is such a thing as bullying, but if our children had more confidence about what they say, do and who they are, the silence they offer to the aggressive individuals around them would soon rob the varmints of the pleasure of riling them up.

Yes, we empower our enemies when we take their insults seriously.

So when we turn the other cheek, we are not being noble; rather, it is a sophisticated form of stubbornness … refusing to be curtailed by the whim and wishes of others.

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

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