Daily Riches: Our Need to Impress (James M. Campbell and Ruth Haley Barton) *

“For fourteen years he had kept silent about it.” James Campbell

“…  I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven [and] this man … heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. … I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations.”  2 Corinthians 12:1-7a

“We might commit ourselves to pondering the things that take place during solitude in our heart, as Mary did, at least for a time, rather than sharing them too quickly or using them immediately as tools for ministry. This a way of keeping some things precious and sacred… [like] we protect the privacy of our interactions with intimate friends.” Ruth Haley Barton

In a “supassingly great” manner, the apostle Paul was transported to heaven where he saw powerful “visions” and heard “inexpressible [secret] things.” In all his days of ministry, he never tried to use this to enhance his reputation, and he refuses to do so now. (:5) Even here, he refers to himself only indirectly as “a man in Christ.” This comes up now only because the Corinthian church was immaturely infatuated with the “superapostles” in their midst (:11). Paul’s experience put him in a special class. No one else had such credentials! Even so, “For fourteen years [Paul] had kept silent about it.”

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Could you keep silent about something so impressive for fourteen years? Paul did. What does this says about him?
  • Are you quick to share things that make you look good? a substantial prayer life, some “power encounter”, a long fast, an experiment with monastery life, years of keeping the Sabbath or centering prayer, etc.? How often do we hear about such exploits in a sermon, an article, in a blog, or through social media? What do you think this says about us?
  • When you share something “precious and sacred”, it changes it. What is gained instead, by keeping something sacred a secret?

Abba, deliver me from my need to impress or be thought well of. Let your approval suffice for me.


For More: Paul the Mystic by James M. Campbell


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)

2 thoughts on “Daily Riches: Our Need to Impress (James M. Campbell and Ruth Haley Barton) *

    • Yes. I goes right to the heart too. (Obviously, sometimes we need to share to encourage someone or model some behavior for the church, but I didn’t even want to mention that, since it doesn’t seem like we need any encouragement in that way! LOL


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