Daily Riches: Change Yourself First (Parker Palmer)

“When I give something I do not possess, I give a false and dangerous gift, a gift that looks like love but is, in reality, loveless – a gift given more from my need to prove myself than from the other’s need to be cared for. One sign that I am violating my own nature in the name of nobility is a condition called burnout. Though usually regarded as a result of trying to give too much, burnout in my experience results from trying to give what I do not possess – the ultimate in giving too little! Burnout is a state of emptiness, to be sure, but it does not result from giving all I have; it merely reveals the nothingness from which I was trying to give in the first place.” Parker Palmer

“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
Jeremiah 2:13

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you ever felt burned out? Was it when you were trying to do something “noble?” Why do you think that happened?
  • How could one end up giving a “gift that looks like love, but it really, loveless?”
  • If the problem is “giving something you don’t possess” (giving out of “nothingness”), what is the solution?
  • Based on his words here, what do you think Palmer wants for you?

Abba, when I come to the end of my rope – when my well is empty  – when I’m running on fumes – when my experience of you is tired or second-hand … may I remember then to address the “nothingness” in my inner life before I attempt to do anything else.


For More: Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer


The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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