Daily Riches: The Crippling Effect of Discontent (Miroslav Volf)

“ ‘Look at the birds of the air,’ Jesus said to the crowds gathered around him (Matt. 6:26). I’ve been looking at the birds lately, and it strikes me that today our lives are more akin to the frantic scurrying of rats and the disciplined marching of ants than to the contented and joyous singing of birds. In some regards, we humans are more like rats and ants than like birds. But there’s more to today’s dearth of contentment and joy than just the elements of human nature. Cultures of postindustrial societies encourage and reward scurrying and marching more than they do rejoicing. They reach into what seems like the most intimate regions of our hearts, and by affecting our desires and our sense of responsibility, they disturb the peace of contentment and suppress the buoyancy of joy. …’The eye is not satisfied with seeing, or the ear filled with hearing,’ writes the author of Ecclesiastes (1:7–8), describing the ancient experience of insatiability. We are finite, but our desire is infinite, limited, it seems, mainly by our need for rest. Insatiability is a human condition—but one that the modern market economy magnifies. According to Kenneth Galbraith, the modern market doesn’t so much re­spond to existing needs by supplying goods, but rather “creates the wants the goods are presumed to satisfy.” Desire, hunger, and dissatisfaction are the market economy’s fuel. The more fuel it has, the faster it can run, and so it creates the void it seeks to fill. The result is a rushing stream of both amazing and not-so-amazing goods and services—along with a perpetual lack of contentment and diminished capacity for joy. The relation between joy and contentment at any given moment is straightforward: the less content you are, the less joy you will have (though discontentment often precedes joy). Joy celebrates the goodness of what is, what was, or is to come; the market economy fuels insatiability and malcontent, systematically erodes the goodness of what is, and cripples joy.”  Miroslav Volf

“I have learned how to be content
with whatever I have.”
Philippians 4:11

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you often find yourself “scurrying?” Does scurrying seem normal or good?
  • Are you an “insatiable” consumer? If so, why?
  • Can you recognize and reject artificially created “needs?”
  • Are you willing to be a person who has less than others? …who is “learning” to be content?

Abba, In my work, may I be motivated, not by anxiety or greed or ego, but by gratitude and the desire to lovingly serve you and others.

For More: The Living God and the Fullness of Life by Miroslav Volf

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and God after you. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

 

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.
.
“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
.

“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: The Antitoxin of Gratitude (Wayne Muller, Matthew Henry and John Henry Jowett)

 “Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic.” John Henry Jowett

“A ‘successful’ life has become a violent enterprise. We make war on our bodies, pushing them beyond their limits; war on our children, because we cannot find enough time to be with them when they are hurt or afraid, and need our company; war on our spirit, because we are too preoccupied to listen to the quiet voices that seek to nourish and refresh us; war on our communities, because we are fearfully protecting what we have, and do not feel safe enough to be kind and generous; war on earth, because we cannot take time to place our feet on the ground and allow it to feed us, to taste its blessing and gave thanks.” Wayne Muller

“Let me be thankful;
first, because I was never robbed before;
second, although he took my purse, he did not take my life;
third, although he took all I possessed, it was not much;
fourth, it was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed.”
Matthew Henry, in his diary

“And whatever you do or say,
do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through him to God the Father.”
Colossians 3:17

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Think about the relationship you have with your body, your children, your soul, your community – and with the earth. How does thankfulness inform these relationships?
  • Reread the words of Mathew Henry. Can you imagine yourself in that very situation, and then ask God to “let” you be similarly thankful?
  • Must you come to the end of your rope, your strength, and yourself before you remember to call out to God? …to think about giving thanks to God?

“Heavenly Father, when I come to the end of my rope, my strength, myself, I’m finally open to the help you offer. Teach me then, God, the basics of prayer, like ‘help’, ‘please’, and ‘thank you’. In the name of Jesus, amen.”  The Heidelberg Catechism

For More: Breathe: Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life by Keri Wyatt Kent

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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.”