Domestique

by DanWolgemuth on August 28, 2015

The latest version of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge is history. Riders, teams and terrain dominated the stories that splashed across the sports pages in the Denver Post. Newcomers to the sport were tutored by a well-designed website that not only posted results, but also defined terms.

The vernacular is important in understanding both strategy and outcomes.

Peloton…

Breakaway…

Chase…

Gap…

Echelon…

… all found a clear and informative categorization and definition.

Buried in the catalog of terms was this…

Domestique
A rider whose job it is to support and work for other riders in their team (literally “servant” in French).

Teams boast and boost key individual riders in an effort to position them on the podium. This simply isn’t possible without a team. It simply isn’t possible without domestiques. On rides that last hours and hours, these riders fight the wind and fatigue that would derail the ultimate objective of protecting and propelling the team’s key rider.

These riders push, and press, and sacrifice so that at the end of the ride, the star is the star. They expend every ounce of energy and physical capacity only to fade to oblivion in total exhaustion. They chase down sprinting riders from other teams and keep them within the reach.

They train for obscurity. They contribute by being invisible at the end of the day.

There are no endorsement deals, no bold headlines, no colored jerseys for these servants… only the satisfaction of faithfulness.

John the Baptist was a biblical domestique. At a point at which it appeared that he was leading the pack, he made it absolutely and painfully clear to his fans and followers.

He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30)

Is there a more clear definition of a domestique? When Jesus was tucked in the middle of the pack, John described his role with precision, humility and vision.

It was Jesus who would ultimately stand on the podium. No yellow jersey, but the robes of a King. It was Jesus that would bring light to the darkness. It was Jesus who would bring hope to the hopeless. It was Jesus who would rescue the lost. It was Jesus who would die for the sins of mankind. It was Jesus who would pay the price that no prophet or priest could pay. It was Jesus who would ultimately stand in victory. It was Jesus.

And John the Baptist… Domestique. Servant.

In service to the King. In service to each other.

It was Jesus… and it still is Jesus.

Domestiques on behalf of our champion. Domestiques because He is unmatched. Domestiques because He alone is worthy.

{ 0 comments }

No Election Required

by DanWolgemuth on August 21, 2015

At last check there were somewhere around 20 candidates aspiring to be the next President of the United States.

In the early days of campaigning, these individuals look for ways to differentiate themselves from the crowded field. Each speech, every public encounter, and nearly all of their interactions are carefully scrutinized, evaluated and commented on.

Political philosophy and personal values are squeezed out of each written or spoken sentence. Questions swirl and answers are evaluated.

Words illuminate. Speeches inform.

In the early stages of Jesus’ ministry He too gave a number of noteworthy speeches. Perhaps none more poignant or revealing than His sermon on the side of a mountain.

“Blessed…” was the first word that tumbled from His lips. Blessed.

Perfect. The first word that washes over the crowd sounds like the preamble to a political promise. Sounds like the makings of the 1928 Presidential slogan of Herbert Hoover… “A chicken in every pot.”

Blessed!

Of course. Who wouldn’t. Count me in. Blessed…

But then the words shift. The course veers.

Words that rub against the nature and character of power spill from the lips of the teacher. They are a bucket full of cold water in the face of a sleeper.

… the poor in spirit
… those who mourn
… the meek
… those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
… the merciful
… the pure in heart
… the peacemakers
… those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake

Blessed.

Not the powerful or the prosperous. Not the connected or resourced. Not the educated or influential.

Unthinkable. Impossible.

Absolutely unelectable.

Without regard to the polling data, Jesus speaks His mind… He speaks the truth.

Blessed.

Jesus changes the game.

Unmeasured but perfectly accurate. Untested against a sample audience. Truth obliterates preconceived ideas of what it means to be Blessed.

Jesus isn’t grandstanding or employing some “shock and awe” approach… His yardstick measures the souls of men and women; and He knows just what it means in His culture and every culture that follows to be truly Blessed. And so He speaks… not only His mind, but the mind of God.

Because ultimately, the entire fate of mankind rests in the power of this promise. Blessed are all of those who understand just how upside down; and just how perfect the message of Jesus is.

For those who wish to be…

… residents of the kingdom of heaven
… comforted
… inheritors of the earth
… satisfied
… recipients of mercy
… viewers of God
… sons of God

Blessed.

No election required.

{ 0 comments }

I know…

August 14, 2015

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.” ~ Job 19:25 In human terms Job had suffered at levels of unmatched intensity, severity and breadth. His wealth, his livelihood, his children, his spouse, his personal health, his trusted advisors… Dignity, reputation, confidence, love and life had […]

Read the full article →

All Within a Half-Mile

August 7, 2015

Just a few hundred yards from our national office is the headquarters of the Denver Broncos. A multi-million dollar expansion and renovation has transformed this area into the envy of the NFL as far as training facilities. This past weekend the NFL began its preseason workouts, and this year, with the facility complete, the public […]

Read the full article →

Summer Impact from Winter Watering

July 24, 2015

Most of the Fragment below is an encore post from one that I did in the winter of 2012. It might be an odd time to be running this piece, but I’ve come to realize that what I experience now with my trees is the result of what I did with them in February. If […]

Read the full article →

Under Non-Glare Glass?

July 17, 2015

(The following is an encore Fragment.  Although written and published in June 2012, I hope that it refreshes your soul today.) I stepped into my closet and scanned the pants that I had hanging on a rod.  It was as though my REI hiking pants were waving at me like a second grader who knew […]

Read the full article →

“… and Matthew the tax collector”

July 10, 2015

(The following is an encore Fragment.  Although written and published some time ago, I hope that it refreshes your soul today.) In the opening book of the New Testament, Matthew vividly records the ministry life of Jesus.  He was an eyewitness. By the time that we arrive at the 10th chapter of the book, Matthew […]

Read the full article →

Easier?

July 6, 2015

(The following is an encore Fragment.  Although written and published some time ago, I hope that it refreshes your soul today.) In 1986 Greg LeMond became the first non-European cyclist to win the prestigious Tour de France cycling race.  His accomplishment not only impacted cycling professionals, it also inspired many amateur cyclists. During LeMond’s career […]

Read the full article →

From Zephaniah to South Carolina

June 26, 2015

But I will leave in your midst a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the LORD, (Zephaniah 3:12) A prophetic voice echoed in the souls of God’s chosen people. Through the valley of corruption, of injustice, of oppression, of religious heresy, of violence, during an historic time of fragmentation […]

Read the full article →

The Snake Came Out of the High Grass… Once Again

June 19, 2015

The temperatures were mild, the wind was light, and the sidewalk was smooth and wide. Nearly perfect. Mary and I have pedaled many miles on the local reservoir path; an eight-mile loop. We rolled, talked, and then rolled along in silence. At mile six we both glanced up to see a sizable snake stretched across […]

Read the full article →