Daily Riches: Freed From the Need to Impress (Henri Nouwen)

“‘Truth’ in our culture has become so largely determined by statistics that is is easy for us to truly believe that the number of people who listen, watch, or attend is a measure of the quality of that which is presented. It is difficult for us to believe that salvation came from the remnant of Israel. …that something very good came from an unknown place. …that our God is a God who came in the unspectacular form of a servant, who entered Jerusalem on an ass, and who was killed as a common criminal. And it is even more difficult to believe that a few unsophisticated fishermen brought God’s good news to the world. We act as if visibility and notoriety were the main criteria of the value of what we are doing. It is not easy to act otherwise. …How do we overcome this all-pervading temptation? is it important to realize that our hunger for the spectacular – like our desire to be relevant – has very much to do with our search for selfhood. …Who am I when nobody pays attention, says thanks, or recognizes my work? The more insecure, doubtful, and lonely we are, the greater our need for popularity and praise. Sadly… the more praise we receive, the more we desire. The hunger for human acceptance is like a bottomless barrel. … Jesus responded to the tempter, ‘You must not put the Lord you God to the test.’ Indeed, the search for spectacular glitter is an expression of doubt in God’s complete and unconditional acceptance of us. It is indeed putting God to the test. It is saying: ‘I am not sure that you really care, that you really love me, that you really consider me worthwhile. I will give you chance to show it by soothing my inner fears with human praise and by alleviating my sense of worthlessness by human applause. …The basis of all ministry is the experience of God’s unlimited and unlimiting acceptance of us as beloved children…. This experience of God’s acceptance frees us from our needy self and thus creates new space where we can pay selfless attention to others. This new freedom in Christ allows us to move in the world uninhibited by our compulsions….” Henri Nouwen

“whoever takes the lowly position of this child
is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:4

 Moving From Head to Heart

  • Have you fallen for the “numbers” trap?
  • Are you trying to “soothe your inner fears” with applause? to receive from people what God must give?
  • Can you sit quietly before God and just let him love you?

Abba, deliver us from illusion.

For More: The Selfless Way of Christ by Henri Nouwen


Thanks for reading and sharing “Daily Riches.” –  Bill


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