Daily Riches: The Chief Wounds of the Minister (Henri Nouwen)

“When loneliness is among the chief wounds of the minister, hospitality can convert that wound into a source of healing. Concentration prevents the minister from burdening others with his pain and allows him to accept his wounds as helpful teachers of his own and his neighbor’s condition. Community arises where the sharing of pain takes place, not as a stifling form of self-complaint, but as a recognition of God’s saving promises. Our loneliness and isolation have become so much a part of our daily experience, that we cry out for a liberator who will take us away from our misery and bring us justice and peace. To announce, however, that the Liberator is sitting among the poor and that the wounds are signs of hope and that today is the day of liberation, is a step that very few can take. But this is exactly the announcement of the wounded healer: ‘The Master is coming–not tomorrow, but today, not next year, but this year, not after all our misery has passed, but in the middle of it, not in another place but right here where we are standing.'” Henri Nouwen

“I lie awake,
lonely as a solitary bird on the roof.”
Psalm 102:7
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Moving From the Head to the Heart
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  • Can you relate to problem of loneliness in ministry, and the temptation to turn to others rather than God to sooth your pain?
  • Have you tried to accept your “wounds as helpful teachers of your own and your neighbor’s condition” – inviting God into that place of anguish, staying there with Him, receiving and learning from God?
  • In your own loneliness, have you learned that “the Liberator is sitting among the poor” (with you), so that you can testify to others that Jesus will care for the wounded, not when the misery has passed, not “in another place” but here and now?

Abba, help me take the difficult steps to seek you and find you in the midst of my woundedness and need.

For More: The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Thanksgiving In Desperate Times (Martin Rinkart and Robert Morgan)

“Martin Rinkart (1586-1649) [was] a Lutheran pastor in the little village of Eilenberg, Saxony. He grew up as the son of a poor coppersmith, felt called to the ministry, and after his theological training began his pastoral work just as the Thirty Years’ War was raging through Germany. Floods of refugees streamed into the walled city of Eilenberg. It was the most desperate of times. The Swedish army encompassed the city gates, and inside the walls there was nothing but plague, famine, and fear. Eight hundred homes were destroyed, and people began dying in increasing numbers. There was a tremendous strain on the pastors, who expended all their strength in preaching the gospel, caring for the sick and dying, and burying the dead. One after another, the pastors themselves took ill and perished until at last only Martin Rinkart was left. Some days he conducted as many as fifty funerals. Finally the Swedes demanded a huge ransom. It was Martin Rinkart who left the safety of the city walls to negotiate with the enemy, and he did it with such courage and faith that there was soon a conclusion of hostilities, and the period of suffering ended. Rinkart, knowing there is no healing without thanksgiving, composed this hymn for the survivors of Eilenberg. It has been sung around the world ever since.” Robert Morgan
“Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things hath done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mother’s arms
hath blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.
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“O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever-joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us in his grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills
in this world and the next.”
Martin Rinkart
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“In everything give thanks
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you a thankful person?
  • What might have been your response as a resident of Eilenberg? …of your family? …of your faith community?
  • Do you have some practice in your life that is teaching you “in everything to give thanks?”

Abba, remind me, even this day, to give thanks in all things.

For More: Then Sings My Soul by Robert J. Morgan

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Ministry and Contentment (Pete Scazzero, John Calvin)

“Looking over our shoulder to more ‘successful’ ministries is one of the most frequent sources of pain for leaders.  …We can learn a lot from the pattern of John the Baptist’s leadership as he responded to the news that he was losing people to the ‘new, big thing’ happening around him (John 3:26-30): (1) I am content. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. “A person can receive only what is given him from heaven.” Yes, God gives gifts and abilities that we want to steward well. But each place of service, employment, success, or failure (a lot of God’s closest servants seem to suffer martyrdom) is under God’s sovereignty. It is tempting to strive, manipulate, and anxiously toil to push doors open that God does not have for us. But we want to receive as a gift each task given to us by God regardless of the where it leads. … (2) I am second. “I am not the Messiah…I am a friend of the Bridegroom, who stands and hears him.” John’s self-knowledge enabled him to escape the deadly trap of envy. …May we never lose sight of the pure happiness found in listening to the lovely voice of Jesus in Scripture, as well as the privilege given to us to speak His words to the world. (3) I am disappearing. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John is happy to decrease, even to disappear. Are we? Calvin said it well: ‘Those who win the church over to themselves rather than to Christ faithlessly violate the marriage they ought to honor.’ You and I will disappear some day and God will continue to build his kingdom. May we too rejoice in that process whenever God opens doors for us to disappear.” Pete Scazzero

“A person can receive only what is given him from heaven.” John 3:27

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • If you live by the numbers, you’ll die by the numbers. Do you measure ministry success by numbers? Is your identity based on competition and out-doing others?
  • Many leaders are tempted “to strive, manipulate, and anxiously toil to push doors open” that God has closed. When doors close, what’s your response?
  • Your ego has a plan for you as a pastor – and it’s not “disappearing.” Are you aware of it? prepared to handle it?

Abba, give our leaders great contentment serving you.

For More: Open Secrets by Richard Lischer

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: The Most Infallible Sign of the Presence of God (James Martin, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)

“Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
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“In some religious circles, joy, humor, and laughter are viewed as excessive, irrelevant, ridiculous, inappropriate, and even scandalous. But a lighthearted spirit is none of those things. Rather, it is an essential element of a healthy spiritual life and a healthy life in general. When we lose sight of this serious truth, we cease to live life fully, truly, and wholly. Indeed, we fail to be holy. …People seemed fascinated by joy. It’s almost as if they’d been waiting to be told that it’s okay to be joyful believers. Still, many clergy, as well as some devout believers in general, give the impression that being religious means being dour, serious, or even grumpy. Joylessness is nondenominational and interfaith. Religious organizations seem to reward the more serious types; they rise to the top because their dour attitude is perhaps seen as proof of the seriousness of their intent. People’s past experiences with the clergy leads them to equate ministry with melancholy. But the lives of the saints, as well as those of great spiritual masters from almost every other religious tradition, show the opposite. Holy people are joyful. Why? Because holiness brings us closer to God, the source of all joy. Joy, a characteristic of those close to God, is a sign of not only a confidence in God, but also … gratitude for God’s blessings. …Joy, humor, and laughter show one’s faith in God. For Christians, an essentially hopeful outlook shows people that you believe in the Resurrection, in the power of life over death, and in the power of love over hatred.” James Martin
“You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence….”
Psalm 16:11

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • When you look at your life for signs of spiritual health, do you look for joy? Do you find it?
  • Have you fallen into the trap of blaming your circumstances or temperament for a lack of joy? Of thinking joy is unimportant?
  • Do you spend time in God’s presence in a way that brings you joy? If not, why not?

Abba, you know I’m too often joy-challenged. Fill me with your Spirit, and with joy.

For More:  Between Heaven and Mirth by James Martin

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”