Tag Archives: Powerful

Ezer Kenegdo

Ezer Kenegdo (CaD Gen 2) Wayfarer

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Genesis 2:18 (NIV)

For whatever reason, God saw fit to surround me with women most of my entire life journey. My eldest brothers are twins, my sister came five years later, and I brought up rear. Most of my childhood the sibling dynamic in my family system was two pairs: the twins and Jody and me. When I was very young, I can remember times when dad and the twins would be off doing something and I was home with mom and Jody. It made an impression on me.

Further down life’s road, I find myself the father of two girls, and then was blessed to have Wendy’s sister live with us for a few years. I always seem to find myself in situations in which I’m surrounded by women. About four years ago I wrote a post with my first words to my grandson, discussing this very phenomenon.

I’m not complaining, mind you. I rather enjoy it most of the time. In fact, the experience has significantly changed my view and understanding of women along my life journey. For most of my early journey I loosely held a fairly fundamentalist view of the roles of men and women, husbands and wives. And, I confess that many of my views early on were downright misogynistic. My life experiences, my spiritual journey as a Jesus follower, and the amazing women in my life, have led to embracing what I consider to be a deeper understanding of women and all the incredible things they are in creation.

In today’s chapter, God looks at Adam and makes a “helper suitable for him.” The Hebrew words are ezer kenegdo. Ezer simply means “help” or “assistance.” Kenegdo is made up of three words. The study text I read this morning stated that it suggests: “someone God fashions for the man who would correspond to him.” This does not imply inferiority, weakness, or submission, but rather one who “uniquely his counterpart and uniquely suited for him.”

And that brings me to Wendy, the woman who is the definition of my ezer kengdo. We couldn’t be more different in so many ways, and the Enneagram Institute describes relationships between Fours (me) and Eights (Wendy) “the most inherently volatile” of combinations, though it adds the combination can be “one of the most creative relationship couplings.”

Wendy and I do everything together. We work together out of our home, we serve together, and we play together. There are certainly things each of us do and enjoy alone, but for the most part we are around each other 24/7/365 in our daily lives. And that’s a good thing for me. It’s a great thing for me.

I had a member of my company’s Board of Directors once ask me if I could imagine doing my job without Wendy. My response was immediate: “Absolutely not.” In fact, I can’t imagine doing it without her. I can’t imagine doing anything without her. She’s “uniquely suited” to make me better at everything I do in life, in community, and business as I like to believe I am uniquely suited to make her better in the same.

Please don’t hear what I’m not saying. We’re not perfect. We clash. We have flashes of volatility as the folks at the Enneagram Institute describe. Sometimes sparks fly. Yet that, I believe, is inherently a by-product of ezer kenegdo. Not alike, but uniquely suited.

So, in the quiet this morning, I think there are a whole host of things that I could have blogged about from today’s chapter. It is chock full of truth on multiple layers. Yet, on this chapter-a-day journey, I often find that the thing that is most meaningful to me is the thing that rises to the top of mind and soul. To me, this day, that is ezer kenegdo; that is Wendy, and all of the women with whom God has surrounded me my entire life journey to teach me about manhood, and to make me a better man.

If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

Simple Truths Gently Spoken

Mother Teresa of Calcutta; 1986 at a public pr...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power. 1 Corinthians 2:4 (NLT)

In the grand ballroom of the Washington Hilton there gathered a throng of some of the most powerful and influential people in the world. The President of the United States, cabinet members, members of congress, military leaders, ambassadors, diplomats from many countries, religious leaders, authors, and speakers were there together. I was certainly out of place and had no business being among that crowd. I was given an empty seat when a diplomat didn’t show up. To my amazement, it happened to be a seat just a few feet from the podium. Looking around, on the stage and off, the crowd was a Who’s Who of thinkers, leaders, movers, and shakers. I looked down the agenda. The President, because he is the President, got the premiere, final spot on the program that morning.

Right before the President in his polished, for-the-cameras glory would provide the final word, a special guest would take the podium. She was so short that most of the room could not see her face behind the podium. Her voice was quiet, almost a whisper. That morning I was privileged to hear the diminutive, physically frail Mother Teresa of Calcutta address some of the world’s most powerful individuals.

As she spoke, you could hear a pin drop. I remember feeling Holy Spirit thick in the room in a way I have rarely experienced. Looking back, I remember that she shared simple scriptural truths in a few short minutes. She proclaimed Jesus’ message of love and life. It was powerful in a way you can’t explain in terms of human eloquence or persuasion. Her words were packed with spiritual potency that flows out of a life of self-denial and sacrificial love. I will never forget the experience.

When she was finished, the President was called upon to respond to her words. I have never seen a master politician whose tongue-tied words seemed so foolish and impotent.

As I read this morning’s chapter and the verse above, I was taken back to that ballroom and found myself reliving the moment when a tiny woman from India spoke simple spiritual truths and confounded the most worldly wise people on the planet. It’s a reminder to me that I don’t need to be eloquent. Love coupled with simple truths shared in gentle sincerely are all that Holy Spirit requires to show up in powerful ways.

Chapter-a-Day Colossians 4

from bepster via Flickr

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. Colossians 4:6 (NLT)

This past week I was on a marathon business trip with my colleague, Bene’. The eight day trip included six straight days packed with long customer service  and escalated customer training sessions for diverse teams. Our group had never worked with many of these teams before. Typically, Bene’ and I would arrive at our designated training room a few minutes prior to starting and my job was making sure all of our technology hooked up and worked seamlessly with the client’s presentation equipment. This is sometimes a quick and easy task, but more often than not there are glitches and obstacles to overcome.

As I fiddled with chords, adaptors, mice, remotes, and other inanimate paraphernalia, Bene’ was always in conversation with the manager, supervisor or training participants. I have always been impressed with Bene’s easy ability to converse with anyone. I have always regarded myself as a decent conversationalist, but Bene’ is a rock star. A smile on her face and a positive attitude that has her always on the edge of laughter, she is able to quickly put people at ease and draw them into the most amazing conversations. I’ve learned a lot from her just eavesdropping while I wrestle with an RGB connector.

I’m afraid that in a world increasingly dependent on texting, e-mail, chat and messaging we are losing the fine art of conversation. The encouragement in today’s chapter to be a person of attractive, gracious conversation is arguably more critical today than it was when Paul dictated his letter to those following Jesus in Colosse. When most of the world communicates with one another from an impersonal, disembodied distance, the opportunity to express love through a gracious, attractive, personal conversation has never held such potent possibilities.

Chapter-a-Day Exodus 22

Offender rights.

"A thief must make full restitution for what is stolen." Exodus 22:3 (MSG)

As I read through todays chapter, which is a list of some of the first laws recorded in human history, it struck me how much of it was plain common sense. It was a victim-centric system of justice. The offender had to make sure that the victim was not out anything because of their sin or crime. If you steal something you have to pay the victim for what was stolen. If your livestock eat your neighbors grain, you have to pay so that his livestock can eat. That's not rocket science.

I thought about Bernie Madoff as I read through today's chapter. What about all the people whose life savings and retirement accountts were wiped out by his scam? While he was under house arrest in his posh New York apartment, his victims were out finding jobs to replace the money he stole. Something is not right with that picture.

The code of human justice originally prescribed by God made sure that the power did not take advantage of the weak and powerless, and that victims received restitution. As I sit and mull it over my first cup of coffee this morning, it seems to me we have abandoned the victim-centric code of justice originally prescribed by God and evolved into an offender-centric society.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and sabeth718