Daily Riches: Where Busyness is a Fetish (Mark Buchanan, Marva Dawn, Eugene Peterson, Tim Keller and Pete Scazzero)

“In a culture where busyness is a fetish and stillness is laziness, rest is sloth. But without rest, we miss the rest of God: the rest he invites us to enter more fully so that we might know him more deeply. ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ Some knowing is never pursued, only received. And for that, you need to be still. Sabbath is both a day and an attitude to nurture such stillness. It is both time on a calendar and a disposition of the heart. It is a day we enter, but just as much a way we see. Sabbath imparts the rest of God—actual physical, mental, spiritual rest, but also the rest of God—the things of God’s nature and presence we miss in our busyness.” Mark Buchanan

“A great benefit of Sabbath keeping is that we learn to let God take care of us—not by becoming passive and lazy, but in the freedom of giving up our feeble attempts to be God in our own lives.” Marva J. Dawn

“If you don’t take a Sabbath, something is wrong. You’re doing too much, you’re being too much in charge. You’ve got to quit, one day a week, and just watch what God is doing when you’re not doing anything.” Eugene H. Peterson

“You cannot have a proper work theology unless you have a proper rest theology.” Tim Keller

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
‘Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved.
In quietness and confidence is your strength.
But you would have none of it.’”
Isaiah 30:15

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you positioned to receive what cannot be obtained by pursuing? What might you be missing because of busyness and hurry?
  • Are you gradually being freed from your “feeble attempts” to be God in your own life? Are you learning to let God take care of you?
  • Do you have a “rest theology?” Are you running on fumes? How often do you bring your “best self” to the task or relationship?
  • Is whatever you’re doing now helping you “to know God more deeply?” Why not block out a day soon to “stop, rest, delight and contemplate” (Pete Scazzero), and see what a difference that can make?

Abba, help me live my theology of rest.

For More: The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath by Mark Buchanan

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and God seeks after you. My goal is to share something of unique value with you in 400 words or less. Thanks for following and sharing my blog. Please feel free to leave a comment or question. – Bill

Daily Riches: Hooked On Productivity (Jan Johnson, Evelyn Underhill and Eugene Peterson)

“We mostly spend [our] lives conjugating three verbs: to want, to have and to do. Craving, clutching and fussing, we are kept in perpetual unrest.” Evelyn Underhill

“My jabbering prayers have been full of what I want, what I think I should have, and what I want God to do. …Instead of fussing, striving, and monitoring, we surrender ourselves to God over and over again. For those of us who are hooked on productivity, this approach is radical. …Letting go of the need to perform for God sets our hearts on things above and turns our backs on self-importance. Instead of trying to have an accomplishment-driven relationship with God, enjoying God’s presence points us toward:

  • resting instead of productivity,
  • being silent instead of talking,
  • listening instead of giving advice,
  • empowering others instead of preaching to them,
  • asking questions instead of knowing answers,
  • surrendering instead of gritting your teeth,
  • giving instead of consuming,
  • striving for brokenness instead of upward mobility, and
  • gearing down to simplicity instead of gearing up to empire building.” Jan Johnson

“In our religious striving, we are usually looking for something quite other than the God who has come looking for us.” Eugene Peterson

“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46:10

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you “kept in perpetual unrest?” Are you “hooked on productivity?”
  • If so, what do these things say about your need to seem important to others? …to seem important to God? Could that be what you’re “usually looking for?”
  • The Scripture reminds us that God does not require or want our anxious striving. The list above spells out what a relaxed, trusting life might look like. Look at that list again. Is God speaking to you about anything there?

Father, May I rest instead of striving.
walk instead of racing.
receive instead of grasping.
listen instead of speaking.
endure instead of quitting.
May I trust instead of worrying.
appreciate instead of griping.
forgive instead of blaming, and
above all, may I love.

For More: When The Soul Listens: Finding Rest and Direction in Contemplative Prayer by Jan Johnson

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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: Patience with Others … and Yourself (Shirley Carter Hughson and Eugene Peterson)

“I am sure than when St. Paul spoke of ‘the fruit of the Spirit,’ he had in mind such processes that as we find in nature. A tree which brings forth good fruit is able to do so because over many years it has been brought under the influence of cultivation, fertilization, sunshine, rain, caressing winds, [and] cleaning from blight, and so it acquires the power to bear good fruit. A farmer cannot get his result by suddenly becoming very busy for a season and doing these things.”  Shirley Carter Hughson

“The person … who looks for quick results in the seed-planting of well-doing will be disappointed. If I want potatoes for dinner tomorrow, it will do me little good to go out and plant potatoes in my garden tonight. There are long stretches of darkness and invisibility and silence that separated planting and reaping. During the stretches of waiting there is cultivation and weeding and nurturing and planting still other seeds.” Eugene Peterson

“first the blade and then the ear,

then the full corn shall appear”

Henry Alford

“He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season…”
Psalm 1:3

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Fruit comes “in its season”, and as a result of years “under the influence of cultivation” and predictable natural processes. Healthy growth takes both time and work, but is definitely does take time. Does your work honor the principle that God cannot be rushed?
  • Are you ever guilty of “suddenly becoming very busy for a season”, of impatiently trying to force things to change?
  • What might God be doing in you or your situation during “long stretches of darkness and invisibility and silence?”
  • With these things in mind, think about people on the journey of faith. What should be your attitude towards fellow pilgrims? What should be your attitude toward yourself? Can you relax and trust God’s timing? What would be the lessons for where you are now? that you may need to learn before you can move on?

Abba, help me to walk rather than to race, to receive rather than to grasp, and to relax rather than to strive. Help me to step into the flow of your divine life rather than living a frenzied version of my very human life. Help me focus on being with you and trust you for the timetable.

__________

For More: The Spiritual Letters of Shirley Carter by Shirley Carter Hughson

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

Daily Riches: Threatened by Toxic Media (Jayson Bradley, Mike Wallace, Eugene Peterson)

“I found an incredible interview from the late 50’s with Mike Wallace. It came from a series called The Mike Wallace Interview that ran from 1957–1960. I was blown away that

  1. A show could exist in such a simple format
  2. There was a time when people used television as a vehicle to think about metaphysical questions
  3. People cared about thoughtful dialogue enough to keep this show on the air for three years
  4. It was publically acceptable for people to smoke that much

I fell into an entranced spiral watching video after video of Mr. Wallace interviewing interesting personalities like The Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling, Brave New World author Aldous Huxley, artist Salvador Dali, and German social psychologist Erich Fromm. …What does an interview program look like now? We barely have the attention span to sit through a 15 minute interview with Barbara Walters, and her celebrity interviews have neither the depth or substance of these powerful discussions. Can you imagine a program like this running on prime-time today? Nope, we’re creating lowest-common-denominator television now. We have the world at our fingers, and we’re perfectly content with Honey Boo Boo, Jersey Shore, The Bachelor, and Dancing with the Stars. After watching these videos for hours, I walked away sad that we’ve slipped into an intellectual entropy. Who’s going to save us from this cultural ghetto!?”  Jayson Bradley

“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.
Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. …
Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity,
God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
Romans 12:2 (Eugene Peterson, the Message)

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you abstain from from media often enough to be able to see through its ubiquitous nonsense? to recognize its dangers? to escape the grip of its propaganda?
  • Is your media consumption intentional, so that you protect your mind and heart?
  • Do you “fix your attention on God” in times of solitude and silence to center, ground and protect yourself?
  • Are you becoming insensitive to the sexual images? the ads? the profaneness? the inanity? oblivious to the time spent?

Abba, help me whether with media or otherwise, to recognize nonsense and illusion, and protect my heart, the source of all I am.

For More:  Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

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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: Are You Better at Talking or Listening? (Eugene Peterson, Isak Dinesen and Teresa of Avila)

“Listening is in short supply in the world today; people aren’t used to being listened to. I know how easy it is to avoid the tough, intense work of listening by being busy as when I let a hospital patient know there are ten more people I have to see.  …Too much of pastoral visitation is punching the clock, assuring people we’re on the job, being busy, earning our pay. Pastoral listening requires unhurried leisure, even if it’s only for five minutes. Leisure is a quality of spirit, not a quantity of time. Only in that ambiance of leisure do persons know they are listened to with absolute seriousness, treated with dignity and importance. Speaking to people does not have the same personal intensity as listening to them. The question I put to myself is not “How many people have you spoken to about Christ this week?” but “How many people have you listened to in Christ this week?” The number of persons listened to must necessarily be less than the number spoken to. Listening to a story always takes more time than delivering a message, so I must discard my compulsion to count, to compile the statistics that will justify my existence.” Eugene Peterson

“To be a person is to have a story to tell.” Isak Dinesen

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:
Everyone should be quick to listen
[and] slow to speak….”
James 1:19

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you more intense when you talk, or when you listen? What does your answer say about you?
  • Do you ever feel regret after a conversation that you have talked too much and listened too little?
  • Do you have a technique to subtly let someone know that at the moment you’re too busy to listen to them? Is that bad?
  • Listening that ministers requires “unhurried leisure”, where the person feels “treated with dignity.” Can you develop a practice of some kind to remind yourself to treat others with dignity when you listen to them?

“O Lord, in the silence of this night
let me hear the voice of my neighbor
so often drowned out
by the clamor of my own needs.
Let me not fool myself into thinking
that I can hear your voice
if I do not listen to theirs.”
Teresa of Avila

 __________

For More: The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson

_________________________________________________

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: Detachment from the Insatiable Self (Eugene Peterson and Wanda Jackson) *

“I know it takes time to develop a life of prayer; set-aside, disciplined, deliberate time. It isn’t accomplished on the run…. I know I can’t be busy and pray at the same time. I can be active and pray; I can work and pray; but I cannot be busy and pray. I cannot be inwardly rushed, distracted or dispersed. In order to pray I have to be paying more attention to God than to what people are saying to me; to God than to my clamoring ego. Usually, for that to happen there must be a deliberate withdrawal from the noise of the day, a disciplined detachment from the insatiable self.” Eugene Peterson

“As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”
Psalm 42:1,2

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you pursuing a life with God while you’re “on the run?” while you’re “busy … inwardly rushed, [or] distracted?” If so, is that satisfying your thirst for God?
  • It’s been said, that if you don’t have a plan for your ego, your ego has a plan for you. Do you have a plan for dealing with your “clamoring ego” – for detaching from your “insatiable self?”
  • Does your plan include a “deliberate withdrawal from the noise of the day” so that you can speak with and hear from God?

“Fill my cup, Lord; I lift it up Lord;
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more.
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.”

__________

For More: The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson

_________________________________________________

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 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Marriage and Spiritual Formation (Eugene Peterson and Jean-Pierre de Caussade) *

“There is something deeply flawed in me that separates me from the God who wills my salvation; that ‘something’ seems to be located in and around my will. …The relation of God’s will and my will … is the question. The way we answer it shapes our humanity in every dimension. …a few years into marriage, I was surprised to find myself at the center of what has turned out to be the richest experience yet in my will and God’s will. I had supposed when I entered marriage that it was mostly about sexuality, domesticity, companionship, and children. The surprise was that I was in a graduate school for spirituality–prayer and God–with daily assignments and frequent exams in matters of the will.” Eugene Peterson

“Everything helps me to God.” Jean-Pierre de Caussade

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do
I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.
Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  Matthew 26:39b

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • You don’t have to attend seminary for training in the life of faith. If you’re married, that is your “graduate school for spirituality.” Do you think about marriage that way?
  • Marriage is 24/7/365, so disappointing behavior, annoying habits and character flaws are obvious. Our divine “assignment” is loving without restraint, forgiving with abandon, returning good for evil–and other terribly difficult things. Are you accepting these “daily assignments?” What are the specifics of what this looks like in your home?
  • “Everything helps me to God.” You don’t have to be married. God will use something–life with a spouse, alone, with children, with parents, in a church, in a workplace–as your “school for spirituality.” Look around. Married or not, how is God working to shape you at the very heart of who you are in whatever school you’re in?

__________

For More:  The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson, and my
Downward Mobility at Home

_________________________________________________

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)

Daily Riches: Busyness – Evidence of Laziness and Vanity (Eugene Peterson) *

“I want to appear important. What better way than to be busy? The incredible hours, the crowded schedule, and the heavy demands of my time are proof to myself and to all who will notice – that I am important. …I live in a society in which crowded schedules and harassed conditions are evidence of importance, so I develop a crowded schedule and harassed conditions. When others notice, they acknowledge my significance, and my vanity is fed. …Busyness is the enemy of spirituality. It is essentially laziness. It is doing the easy thing instead of the hard thing. It’s filling our time with our own actions instead of paying attention to God’s action. It’s taking charge.” Eugene Peterson

“Martha… said, ‘Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you
that my sister just sits here while I do all the work?
Tell her to come and help me.’
But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha,
you are worried and upset over all these details!
There is only one thing worth being concerned about.
Mary has discovered it,
and it will not be taken away from her.’”
Luke 10:40-42

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Martha failed to realize she had an agenda for Jesus’ visit, and that it was her, not her sister who was creating stress. (This is Merton’s “activity … where no activity is required.”) Have you fallen into this trap lately?
  • If we didn’t have the analysis by Jesus, wouldn’t we assume that Mary’s inconsiderate sister was wrong for refusing to help? that Martha realized what was important and that Mary did not? (Think about the prescriptions of hospitality both now and then.) Which sister would we admire more? We only know better because we’ve become so familiar (if not comfortable) with this story. Don’t you agree that Jesus’ analysis is unexpected and counterintuitive?
  • Which sister do you resemble more? If Martha, could it be because you “want to appear important?”

Abba, I often feel I know just what needs to happen, and just as often fail to consider that you may have other plans or priorities. Help me to be more aware of my motives, and to listen to you before creating more drama for myself and others.

__________

For More: The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson

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“Then suddenly it happened, I lost every dime, but I’m richer by far, with a satisfied mind.” (“Satisfied Mind”, lyrics by Red Hayes and Jack Rhodes) Often it’s in our most painful losses that we find what really matters, and the satisfaction found in God alone. I hope that Daily Riches will help you to be “richer by far” as you grow in such satisfaction. Thanks for reading and sharing Daily Riches!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Attending to God (Eugene Peterson)

“Worship is the strategy

by which we interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves
and attend to the presence of God.
[It’s the] time and place
that we assign for deliberate attentiveness to God …
because our self-importance is so insidiously relentless
that if we don’t deliberately interrupt ourselves regularly,
we have no chance of attending to him at all
at other times and in other places.”
Eugene Peterson

“I have set Yahweh continually before me ….
You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”
Psalm 16:8a, 11

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Even in times of worship, we often focus on ourselves. What are your thoughts during worship? the feelings of your heart? How much do they revolve around you?
  • Our self-absorption can be illustrated even in our prayers. How many of your prayer requests are in some way about you? (your life, your family, your friends, your job, your church, etc.)
  • Most of us can hardly escape this “insidiously relentless” preoccupation with ourselves. On the one hand, it’s only human, it’s typical. On the other, it’s something that needs to be interrupted. Is this a problem for you? If so, what are one or two changes you can make in your worship or prayer time to more effectively “interrupt” your focus on self?

Abba, I’m in danger, even when I’ve come to do so, of not really attending to you. Teach me how to come into your presence and really be with you – waiting, pausing in silence, listening, praising – offering you my love.

__________

For More: The Peterson quote is from Disappointment With God by Philip Yancey

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

Daily Riches: If You Had to Choose: To Speak or To Listen? (Eugene Peterson)

“Listening is in short supply in the world today; people aren’t used to being listened to. I know how easy it is to avoid the tough, intense work of listening by being busy as when I let a hospital patient know there are ten more people I have to see.  …Too much of pastoral visitation is punching the clock, assuring people we’re on the job, being busy, earning our pay. Pastoral listening requires unhurried leisure, even if it’s only for five minutes. Leisure is a quality of spirit, not a quantity of time. Only in that ambiance of leisure do persons know they are listened to with absolute seriousness, treated with dignity and importance. Speaking to people does not have the same personal intensity as listening to them. The question I put to myself is not “How many people have you spoken to about Christ this week?” but “How many people have you listened to in Christ this week?” The number of persons listened to must necessarily be less than the number spoken to. Listening to a story always takes more time than delivering a message, so I must discard my compulsion to count, to compile the statistics that will justify my existence.” Eugene Peterson

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:
Everyone should be quick to listen
[and] slow to speak….”
James 1:19

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you more intense when you speak, or when you listen?
  • Do you ever feel regret after a conversation that you have spoken too much and listened too little?
  • Do you have a technique to subtly let someone know that at the moment you’re too busy to listen to them?
  • Listening that ministers requires “unhurried leisure”, where the person feels “treated with dignity.” In your listening, do you treat others “with dignity?”

Abba, help me to love by listening well. By my listening may others sense their importance to me – and to you.

 __________

For More: The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson

_________________________________________________

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

Daily Riches: Detachment from the Insatiable Self (Eugene Peterson, Wanda Jackson)

“I know it takes time to develop a life of prayer; set-aside, disciplined, deliberate time. It isn’t accomplished on the run…. I know I can’t be busy and pray at the same time. I can be active and pray; I can work and pray; but I cannot be busy and pray. I cannot be inwardly rushed, distracted or dispersed. In order to pray I have to be paying more attention to God than to what people are saying to me; to God than to my clamoring ego. Usually, for that to happen there must be a deliberate withdrawal from the noise of the day, a disciplined detachment from the insatiable self.” Eugene Peterson

“As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”
Psalm 42:1,2

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you pursuing a life with God while you’re “on the run?” while you’re “busy … inwardly rushed, [or] distracted?” If so, is that satisfying your thirst for God?
  • It’s been said, that if you don’t have a plan for your ego, your ego has a plan for you. Do you have a plan for dealing with your “clamoring ego” – for detaching from your “insatiable self?”
  • Does your plan include a “deliberate withdrawal from the noise of the day” so that you can speak with and hear from God?

“Fill my cup, Lord; I lift it up Lord;
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more.
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.”

__________

For More: The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson

_________________________________________________

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)

Daily Riches: Marriage and Spiritual Formation (Eugene Peterson)

“There is something deeply flawed in me that separates me from the God who wills my salvation; that ‘something’ seems to be located in and around my will. …The relation of God’s will and my will … is the question. The way we answer it shapes our humanity in every dimension. …a few years into marriage, I was surprised to find myself at the center of what has turned out to be the richest experience yet in my will and God’s will. I had supposed when I entered marriage that it was mostly about sexuality, domesticity, companionship, and children. The surprise was that I was in a graduate school for spirituality–prayer and God–with daily assignments and frequent exams in matters of the will.” Eugene Peterson

“Everything helps me to God.” Jean-Pierre de Caussade

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do
I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.
Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  Matthew 26:39b

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • You don’t have to attend seminary for training in the life of faith. If you’re married, that is your “graduate school for spirituality.” Do you think about marriage that way?
  • Marriage is 24/7/365, so disappointing behavior, annoying habits and character flaws are obvious. Our divine “assignment” is loving without restraint, forgiving with abandon, returning good for evil – and other terribly difficult things. Are you accepting these “daily assignments?” What are the specifics of what this looks like in your home?
  • “Everything helps me to God.” You don’t have to be married. God will use something – life with a spouse, alone, with children, with parents, in a church, in a workplace –  as your “school for spirituality.” Look around. Married or not, how is God working to shape you at the very heart of who you are in whatever school you’re in?

__________

For More:  The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson, and my
Downward Mobility at Home

_________________________________________________

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)

Daily Riches: Busyness and Laziness (Eugene Peterson and Thomas Merton)

Busyness is the enemy of spirituality. It is essentially laziness. It is doing the easy thing instead of the hard thing. It’s filling our time with our own actions instead of paying attention to God’s action. It’s taking charge. … The word busy is the symptom not of commitment but of betrayal. It is not devotion but defection. The adjective busy set as a modifier to pastor should sound to our ears like adulterous to characterize a wife, or embezzling to describe a banker. It is an outrageous scandal, a blasphemous affront. Hilary of Tours diagnosed our pastoral busyness as ‘irreligiosa solicitudo pro Deo,’ – ‘a blasphemous anxiety to do God’s work for him.’” Eugene Peterson

“Set me free from the laziness that goes about disguised as activity
when activity is not demanded of me.”
Thomas Merton

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing.Luke 10:38-40a

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you see how busyness might be the “enemy of spirituality” in your life?
  • Do you ever fall into the trap of “activity when activity is not demanded” of you? What does this say about you?
  • Are you offended by the charge of laziness in your busyness? How often are you guilty of “doing the easy thing instead of the hard thing?” Can you give an example of when this happens to you?

Abba, remind me today
that it doesn’t really matter
what progress I make
or what I accomplish
or how I feel,
only that I love
as Jesus loved.
Only that.

__________

For More: The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson

_________________________________________________

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)

Daily Riches: Busyness and Vanity (Eugene Peterson)

“I want to appear important. What better way than to be busy? The incredible hours, the crowded schedule, and the heavy demands of my time are proof to myself and to all who will notice – that I am important. … I live in a society in which crowded schedules and harassed conditions are evidence of importance, so I develop a crowded schedule and harassed conditions. When others notice, they acknowledge my significance, and my vanity is fed.” Eugene Peterson

“Martha… said, ‘Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you
that my sister just sits here while I do all the work?
Tell her to come and help me.’
But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha,
you are worried and upset over all these details!
There is only one thing worth being concerned about.
Mary has discovered it,
and it will not be taken away from her.’”
Luke 10:40-42

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Martha failed to realize she had an agenda for Jesus’ visit, and that it was her, not her sister who was creating stress. (This is Merton’s “activity … where no activity is required.”) Have you fallen into this trap lately?
  • If we didn’t have the analysis by Jesus, wouldn’t we assume that Mary’s inconsiderate sister was wrong for refusing to help?   that Martha realized what was important and that Mary did not? (Think about the prescriptions of hospitality both now and then.) Which sister would we admire more? We only know better because we’ve become so familiar (if not comfortable) with this story. Don’t you agree that Jesus’ analysis is unexpected and counterintuitive?
  • Which sister do you resemble more? If Martha, could it be because you “want to appear important?”

Abba, I often feel I know just what needs to happen, and just as often fail to consider that you may have other plans or priorities. Help me to be more aware of my motives, and to listen to you before creating more drama for myself and others.

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For More: The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson

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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)

Daily Riches: The Contemplative Life (Eugene Peterson)

“Worship is the strategy

by which we interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves
and attend to the presence of God.
[It’s the] time and place
that we assign for deliberate attentiveness to God …
because our self-importance is so insidiously relentless
that if we don’t deliberately interrupt ourselves regularly,
we have no chance of attending to him at all
at other times and in other places.”
Eugene Peterson

“I have set Yahweh continually before me ….”
Psalm 16:8a

* I think Peterson’s words, perhaps written about corporate worship,
apply at least a much to personal, daily times of prayer, meditation and contemplation.

From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you agree that you are preoccupied with yourself? that your sense of self-importance is “insidiously relentless?”
  • Do you have a strategy to practice “deliberate attentiveness to God” today?  to “set Yahweh continually before you?”
  • Can you interrupt whatever you’re doing now and take a few minutes to attend to the presence of God?

Abba, help me to leave spaces to hear from you in each day, to learn to quiet the competing noise within, and to be aware of your presence in every event, every relationship, every space of the day.

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For More: The Peterson quote is from Disappointment With God by Philip Yancey

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to provide you with something of uncommon value each day in less than about 300 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)