Winning Hearts

“Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, ‘How do you advise me to answer this people?’ And they said to him, ‘If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.’ But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him, [who] said, ‘Say to them, “My little finger is thicker than my father’s thighs. Whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.”’” 1 Kings 12:7-8,10-11

If Rehoboam had read How to Win Friends and Influence People, he forgot everything it said, or at least pompously chose to abandon its advice when he came into power. The young sovereign didn’t warm to the idea of serving his minions, so he sought advice that was more palatable to his liking, that would affirm his preference to lead with swagger and fear. The new king’s attitude toward Israel assured their rebellion, and instigated civil discord that would never resolve.

Compare to Jesus, Who said, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The way to win hearts is to prefer others, to put them first, to elevate them and make them know they are valuable and their work is worthwhile. I think Jesus as CEO would take time to go to the IT pool and thank everyone for their contribution to the company’s success, would duck into the kitchen to thank the staff and ask how He could help make their job more efficient. I imagine He would share the bounty of profit with all employees, no matter what their title or role, that He would greet each one as they came to work, be concerned for their welfare and needs, and be a good listener. He would leave every room nicer than He found it, and pick up litter, and look to promote those who also do. Though there are no guarantees, servants are more likely to beget servants and loyalty than those who rule with an iron fist. And a unified, others-first atmosphere in any organization, on any committee, in any workplace or small group, is more appealing and conducive to productivity than a harsh, autocratic one. (Romans 12:10,16; Philippians 2:3-4; Matthew 20:28)

O You Who have won my heart by giving Your very life, sow into me a true servant attitude as I go about my days. Cause me to think how I can be like Jesus in laying aside my preferences and serving others, and to be deliberate in doing so. Use my hands and feet, mouth and ears, to win their hearts for You.

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