A New Teaching With Authority (Fourth Ordinary)

Then they entered Capernaum. When the Sabbath arrived, Jesus lost no time in getting to the meeting place. He spent the day there teaching. They were surprised at his teaching – so forthright, so confident – not quibbling and quoting like the religion scholars. … Everyone there was incredulous, buzzing with curiosity. “What’s going on here? A new teaching that does what it says? He shuts up defiling, demonic spirits and sends them packing!” News of this travelled fast and was soon all over Galilee. (Mark 1: 21 – 22, 27 – 28)

I once worked in a place where the director hired a man named James to take over a successful program in the company. James came in like gangbusters. He had new ideas, and energy, and a strong desire to share what he believed with others. In addition to thoughts on his own projects, some of what James said implied dissatisfaction with programs that others led. Needless to say, that did not make James very popular. Indeed, there was a certain astonishment and some resentment about this new kid who had charisma, to be sure, but did not seem to have the experience to match his big ideas.

Even more disturbing to the regulars was that James did not understand that he was upsetting the apple cart as his suggestions and proposed changes challenged the status quo. Most didn’t think any new leadership was needed and the tension within the ranks was real. Some workers worried about seniority and others about job security. There was a lot of grumbling at lunch tables and at after-hours gatherings. But nothing stopped James from expressing his beliefs with an authority that belied his experience and years.

I left that place for a while. Not because of James, but because I felt another calling. Through the years, I kept an eye on that organisation I left behind. James is still there. His ideas must have been good ones, because James is now the CEO. It has become clear over the years, that his authority was real and was needed to bring new life.

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