Episode 225: Hope for the Journey – Sacrificial Love

April 12, 2022

As this episode drops, it’s Holy Week. Jesus followers are making the journey from the triumphal entry into Jerusalem to the table, the cross, and ultimately the empty tomb. 

It’s a busy week for many. 

But love doesn’t know the boundaries of busyness. Love doesn’t know the confines of a worship service or church building. 

The sacrificial love of Jesus we are reminded of this week broke every boundary we can imagine. 

That’s the way of Jesus.

The cross was intended as punishment. Instead, it unleashed a movement. What was offered in love, continues to transform lives.

Explore how the outstretched arms of God’s embracing love on the cross remind you to lead with love. Episode 225 is a reminder for Christ-centered leaders of the transformative power of God’s love.

The sacrificial love of Jesus, the outstretched arms of God’s embracing love, is a reminder you are empowered to love. The cross is never the last word. 

As you journey to the table, sit at the cross, wait in the silence of Saturday, and celebrate the joy of the resurrection, may you encounter the love of God we know in Jesus.

Mentioned in this Episode

Episode 225


[00:00:00] Sara: You're listening to Leadercast episode 225.

[00:00:04] you're listening to Leader cast, transforming missions podcast with Tim bias and Sara Thomas. Providing you with resources to navigate the challenges and opportunities of courageous Christ- centered leaders

[00:00:20] Tim: What was intended as punishment, unleashed a movement and what was offered in love transformed lives.

[00:00:29] Sara: We'll unpack those two statements in just a moment. As a reminder, you can find show notes for this episode@transformingmission.org forward slash two to five.

[00:00:39] Tim: So as we move through holy week, we want to continue with the theme we've explored through Outland hope for the journey. And this week we're exploring the sacrificial love experienced on the cross.

[00:00:54] Sara: Tim. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I've seen this image. An awful lot in the past year, but I have this odd contrast of images coming to mind right now, the contrast between the believe poster hanging over Ted lasso, his office, if you've seen Ted lasso, or if you're a Ted lasso fan and the things that were being said, and the sign that was placed over Jesus, the words that we use that can uplift, or the words that tear people down.

[00:01:27] And Jesus took words and actions that were intended to destroy him and turned it all around.

[00:01:36] Tim: let's set the scene. People were snaring, they were mocking Jesus.

[00:01:44] Sara: And I don't know about you, Tim. My fight can come out. If you know what I mean, when someone mocks me, if I'm not careful and yes, I'm revealing the place that God is still working on me.

[00:01:57] Tim: Oh, Sara. I won't say, say what I'm thinking, but I real, but I will say that my natural Inco clinician, which I think it is for all of us. Is to push back when we're pushed, you can, you can push me a little bit, but then there's a time when I start pushing back.

[00:02:16] Sara: We are saying the same thing, but I've also heard you say and model over and over again, Tim, and I'm not going to get this right. So you'll correct me. In those moments that you're pushed. What happens if you would just love people as Jesus loves you, you say it a little differently. So what is it that you say.

[00:02:40] Tim: Well, I, I liked the credit for it, but I think Jesus is the one that said it. I think how I say it is. It's just love people. I mean, that's, that's, our job is to love one another. And in the midst of any disagreement or in the midst of any kind of fight, if that's what we want to use, if we are who we're supposed to be or who God created us to be, Hey, we're loving one another.

[00:03:04] Sara: Now you're getting to the heart of the leadership issue. When we think about sacrificial love, Jesus didn't fight. Jesus stayed focused on the love that he was offering to the people around him. And 2000 years later to all of us.

[00:03:23] Tim: we started this episode, Sara with mocking and snaring. But it even got worse. There were people who were saying, if you saved others, let him say, save himself. There are two things. Acting as if Jesus can't hear what's going on and maybe it couldn't, but they're acting as if he's not there. And then the insults keep coming.

[00:03:50] Now, next week, we're going to talk about learning to rise by exploring a moment in your leadership. That's tough. This is one of those moments for Jesus, a tough moment, but Jesus chooses the way of love. He always chooses the way of love,

[00:04:11] Sara: Come on preacher.

[00:04:13] Tim: so, okay. I'll just keep going. He saved others. Let him save himself. He's marked with vinegar when he says he's thirsty and other insults, if you're the king of the Jews, save yourself. And yet he chooses the way of love he models for us. Not that he's as I used to hear people say a welcome mat and people just walks all over him.

[00:04:41] I mean, he is the son of God after all, what he does is models for us that even in the midst of the mocking and the pain and the jeering and all the kinds of stuff people are saying well in Luke's gospel, he even says to one who says to him today you'll be with me in paradise. He doesn't lose his focus.

[00:05:09] Sara: Yeah. So there's criminals in hurling insults at Jesus I mean, can you, can you even imagine it was a, a bad day for Jesus and that bad day just became a no good, very bad day in that moment. And still you've said it to

[00:05:31] Tim: chooses because Jesus chooses the way of love.

[00:05:35] Sara: So I think all of our listeners know the crucifixion account. So before we go any farther, let's pause here and ask what's the lesson in leadership.

[00:05:48] Tim: Sara, this may, this may come across as being very simplistic, but here it is. Lead with love.

[00:05:57] Sara: That would be it, but I've never known Tim bias to be a man of three words. Can you, can you say some more?

[00:06:05] Tim: Well, I think just like Jesus, you're trying to set me up.

[00:06:08] .

[00:06:08] Well, what I've learned, Sara, and this, this may not be exactly what you're looking for, but what I've learned is it makes a difference where we start. Uh, And I'm going to say this. If you start with an issue the issue becomes your focus and so people aren't as important as your issue. If you start with people, people become your focus and you learn in spite of the disagreements around an issue.

[00:06:35] You still learn to love the people who might who might meet those who disagree with you, because the most important part of what we're talking about, being a follower of Jesus, and then leading with hope, the most important parts to people. It's not the issue and it's not success. It's the people. And I think it was the people.

[00:06:59] And I may say it this way. You and me, all of our listeners as was Jesus focus on the girl.

[00:07:09] Sara: this is a bit of an opinion question and I don't, I don't mean it to be that, but I don't know how else to ask it. Do you think most leaders want to lead with.

[00:07:20] Tim: Well, I can, I can say definitely. I think they want to lead with love. If the question is. Do most leaders lead with love? I would say no.

[00:07:34] Sara: So what gets in the way?

[00:07:36] Tim: I think for me, what really gets in the way is, is that we aren't convinced of God's love for us. What gets in the way is that we don't know who we are as followers of Jesus. So we can make a, a verbal a verbal affirmation or a verbal confession, as we talked about in a couple of episodes before.

[00:08:03] But yet we don't follow it up with any actual. And Sara, you didn't, I don't think you were giving me the opportunity for a bias opinion here, but I'll give you a bias opinion. And that is, I think in many of our small teach traditions of the church that we've come to the place of That, that we can talk about loving people, but that love is conditional.

[00:08:31] We love the people who agree with us. We love the people who are going to go on the journey with us the way we want to go on the journey. We have difficulty with people who don't and When it comes to the place where I'm saying you make a confession by saying, yes, we love all people, but then we don't put it into action.

[00:08:56] I think that's what we've reduced. Everything down to in terms of love right now is that we only love the people who love them.

[00:09:09] Sara: Yeah, I hear you're making me think, Tim of. The question that I've asked in a variety of different contexts with a variety of different local churches that say, well, we simply want, we want to love people. And then

[00:09:24] When I asked the question, I'm trying to get clarity. I ask the question, what does that look like? What does loving people look like? And there's usually one of two responses. You can probably guess the first one, complete silence. People don't know how to articulate what that looks like. And what that says to me is not that this is a horrible church, is that likely they haven't had an opportunity to experience. And so, no, they don't know what it looks like, because if you've only experienced what you've been pointing to you, can't name that the other, the other response is, and this is true, but it's not the full picture in my mind.

[00:10:20] It, well, it's when we feed people. In acts and acts of service. Yes, absolutely. That's a way to love other people and to meet them.

[00:10:31] where, where they're at. But I want to rewind to what you said about us, understanding who we are as followers of Jesus. If, if we're not clear on that, it's really hard. Then in that moment to continue being true to who God created you to be, because you don't even know who you are. And So you don't end up loving people. And I, how I see that played out is. People's disease leads them to be unable to respond because they get caught up in all of the things around what is happening and lose sight of the love of God that we know in Jesus and get focused on the social issue. Get focused on the opinion, get focused on who is saying what gets focused on the different parties.

[00:11:31] Tim: So what I'm hearing you say, and, and I, I think we'll get back to our story with the criminals in just a minute, but, but what I'm hearing you Say Sara isn't that feeding people's bad or a social things, but it's why we do it. It's, what's our motivation. And if it's the love of God and Jesus, then we're also going to love the people who don't feed other people and who aren't caring for other people.

[00:12:00] Because, because the love is bigger than people who agree with us. And I think if we look at the story. We've got this other criminal. I've already mentioned to him hanging on the cross who says wait a minute. We're getting what we deserve. But referring to Jesus, he's not. And Jesus then the, the criminal asked Jesus at that point.

[00:12:25] Remember me when you enter your kingdom. And Jesus says to him today, you'll be with me in paradise. And so without stretching that too much, I think if I may say it this way and it's really bad, I'm sorry, but when we're nailed to the cross with Jesus and we're there and we know we're getting what we deserve, you can turn to him and to say Just remember me, I've given up my best or whatever, and Jesus says, so cat, I love you anyway.

[00:13:01] Sara: Yeah. And so part of, part of what I'm hearing you remind us of Tim is that we're never alone. And to not isolate ourselves in leadership

[00:13:16] Tim: Sara. I'm going to say something smart Alec again, since it's my nature to do so. If you're alone, who are you leading?

[00:13:28] Sara: well, and to shape your uh, you're absolutely Right.

[00:13:33] on that, but how I am thinking. I'm thinking of pastor serving churches,

[00:13:42] Tim: right.

[00:13:43] Sara: who , we can get isolated because we are in the midst of. Conflict a controversy in the midst of our local church. And instead of reaching out to say, Hey, can I have a conversation with you?

[00:13:57] I just need to talk out loud and think this through with someone instead of reaching out and asking for help, we withdraw and isolate. And there's nothing helpful about that.

[00:14:10] Tim: So I think the crucifixion probably is more of a symbol of vulnerability if we would go from that point of view. And I'm now bringing all of our episodes together where I'm going to confess and I'll need repentance. You need to forgive me.

[00:14:26] Sara: Yeah.

[00:14:26] Tim: But one of the things that bothers me the most. Leaders, I'm not going to say leadership. I'm going to say with leaders who are not always healthy and who are not people who would say that there are people of love, but they miss something. And that's the relationship they have to have with the people entrusted to their care.

[00:14:48] So they make assumptions and they act on assumptions and not own reality. And sometimes we make assumptions. Well, I may take the word sometimes out every time we make assumptions without having the reality, we make the wrong call.

[00:15:10] So that's part of what I'm hearing you say in terms of isolating ourselves and leadership. When we isolate ourselves, we make assumptions about the people and trusted to our care, and we're not related to them and listening to them. We're not emphasizing with them. We've not become vulnerable enough to reveal who we are to them, so they can be their authentic selves to us.

[00:15:39] We just go on assumption and I don't, I don't mean this, but it's just what comes to my mind. And that is, that may be one reason we should be crucified.

[00:15:54] Right next to Jesus. And we can be like the one who was mocking Jesus, or we can be like the other and say, I know you don't deserve it. I do. And Jesus says, but you're with me. We'll make it through this. That's what I'm thinking. When you're talking there.

[00:16:18] Sara: Yeah. And, and Tim you've, you've said it a couple of times. the vulnerability of the crucifixion. And when you just mentioned that part of, part of what I was reminded of is one of the most vulnerable things that we can do, if not the most vulnerable thing that we can do is love people.

[00:16:45] Tim: Exactly.

[00:16:46] Sara: And so let's set the scene again. Jesus is crucified. He is hanging on a cross. There are two criminals next to him. And when that moment of darkness comes and Jesus breathes his last breath and we read the words, it is finished the whole scene to me when. Whenever I have heard it read or had the privilege of reading it myself and worship.

[00:17:16] I don't think that I've ever read that scripture without getting goosebumps, because the love of God that we know in Jesus is so good. That he's willing to die for us, for me, for you, for everybody who is listening and that sacrificial love that Jesus offers transforms what was meant to be a moment of execution into a moment of love.

[00:17:47] when we miss that, And we miss the fullness of God's goodness and God's grace and God's sacrificial love in that moment. We're meddling in some pretty petty stuff.

[00:18:02] Tim: Well, Sara is you're talking about the crucifixion of Jesus and leading with love. I think there are some places that I want to remind leaders at this point. And one of them is you're not Jesus. Now you may be willing to be crucified, but don't put your plate. Don't put yourself in Jesus. Play. There are some people I'll say it this way.

[00:18:26] I think there's some people who feel like that, that a, their faith leads them to be martyrs. And yes, that there are people who have given their lives for their faith and they are martyrs, but she can only be a martyr once.

[00:18:39] And when we talk about leading with love, it's not so much you being crucified. As it is leading with the love that takes you to the cross. When people know that they're loved that you are a follower of Jesus and you are focused on Jesus and how you live your life in relationship to others, there will be moments when you feel like you are being crucified and it's not fun.

[00:19:16] And they aren't the totality of your leadership, but it's in those vulnerable moments of when people experienced the love. That is so great that you're willing to go to that end for people. The world gets transformed. People are transformed. Relationships are transformed. That's what we're talking about is.

[00:19:39] Sara: I hope that's what we're talking about. I hope we're not talking about crucifying people. We're talking about the meaning of that comes from the crucifixion, the transformation that happens because of the crucifixion. you've said it and I'll say it again, but to lead with love the sacrificial love of Jesus, the outstretched arms of God's embracing love, or a reminder that you are empowered to love.

[00:20:12] The cross is.

[00:20:13] never the last word

[00:20:15] Sunday's coming.

[00:20:16] Tim: Yeah. And that's the, that's the good news. Do we have time for me to tell one story?

[00:20:24] Sara: Of course there's always time for a Tim bias story.

[00:20:28] Tim: Well, this is, this is a confession and a witness, so maybe it's a confession of faith, but it's a, it shows a whole lot of other things too. I used to have a tradition of at the, at a couple of churches where I was. The pastor I go into the sanctuary at times and just sit in different places in the sanctuary thinking about people who sat in those places on Sunday mornings, most people sat in the same place, so I could sit there and visualize the people.

[00:20:58] And it was a way of, of meditating. It was a way of focusing on the cross and, and thinking of them, praying for those people. For whatever I was, whatever they were going through at the moment that I knew and that they may be going to a whole lot more, but only knew something. So I was holding for God.

[00:21:15] remember one time coming into the sanctuary and sitting and I don't remember all I'd been through. But I remember I, I was not in a very good place. It must've been a tough week. And just with people who had irritated the snot right out of me, because I was not happy. I remember not being happy.

[00:21:38] And I remember going to the sanctuary so I could get away from other people. So really it was a sanctuary for me at that point. And at that time, it wasn't thinking about who might be sitting in that place. I was sitting there. Looking at the cross. And for some reason, I began to think about Jesus on the cross.

[00:21:57] In fact, I visualized him on the cross. And what took over at that moment, wasn't something mystical or magical. It was just in my imagination, but I, I imagined him walking, getting off the cross and walking down the aisle towards.

[00:22:14] Little conversation that I had Mon head with Jesus at that point was that, I'd never, I mean, what would I ever say if I were in the presence of Jesus and then I say, but I'm in his presence all the time, so why am I saying that? But he walks up to me and he says, Tim, what can I do for you? I made my confession.

[00:22:39] I'm not very happy. Um, And I think I wasn't very happy with the appointment, or I just felt like that I'd given lots of my life and nobody really cared or And so I just kind of began to verbalize that and Jesus says, well, what do you want me to do for you?

[00:22:59] Sara: Yeah.

[00:23:02] Tim: And I said, well, I don't know if there's anything you could do for me. I think you've done everything you can for me. And then it's my way always to save, what do I need to do for you?

[00:23:18] And Jesus said, follow me.

[00:23:26] And I said, I have. I've given you my entire adult life. And at that point, and maybe this was part of it. I said, every time my wife gets gets tenure, we move. Every time my kids get set in something, we're uprooting them and doing something else. And I have to deal with people who don't care.

[00:23:46] And I heard him say up.

[00:23:52] And I said, what more do you want from me? I've given you my life. I've given you everything that I have. What do you want me to do? And at that point, I envisioned him walking back down the aisle and actually climbing back up on the cross as if he were nailed there. And I heard him say follow up.

[00:24:21] Yeah.

[00:24:26] What I say to people harness, you just love people. That's the image that comes to mind

[00:24:33] when I think of sacrificial love. That's the image that comes to mind. I mean, he certainly has given life to me. And I know that through the cross, but when I give my life to him, he says, come on, follow me.

[00:24:53] Sara: That's a good word, Tim bias. And I'm just going to let you all sit with what Tim has just offered you can find show notes@transformingmission.org forward slash two to five. and simply remind you who you are is how you. with love. Bye for now.