Daily Riches: What People Need Most From Their Pastor (Ruth Haley Barton)

“Sabbath-keeping is the primary discipline that helps us to live within the limits of our humanity and to honor God as our Creator. It is the kingpin of a life lived in sync—with the rhythms that God himself built into our world—and yet it is the discipline that seems hardest for us to practice. Sabbath-keeping honors the body’s need for rest, the spirit’s need for replenishment, and the soul’s need to delight itself in God for God’s own sake. It begins with the willingness to acknowledge the limits of our humanness and then taking steps to live more graciously within the order of things. …There are limits to my relational, emotional, mental, and spiritual capacities…. I am not God. God is the only one who can be all things to all people. God is the only one who can be two places at once. God is the one who never sleeps. I am not. This is pretty basic stuff but many of us live as though we don’t know it. …There is something deeply spiritual about honoring the limitations of our existence as human beings, physical and spiritual beings in a world of time and space. There is a peace that descends upon our lives when we accept what is real rather than always pushing beyond our limits. There is something about being gracious and accepting and gentle with ourselves at least once a week that enables us to be gracious and accepting and gentle with others. There is a freedom that comes from being who we are in God and resting into God that eventually enables us to bring something truer to the world than all of our doing. Sabbath-keeping helps us to live within our limits because on the Sabbath, in so many different ways, we allow ourselves to be the creature in the presence of our Creator. We touch something more real in ourselves and others than what we are all able to produce. We touch our very being in God. Surely that is what the people around us need most. – Ruth Haley Barton

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.”
He said this because there were so many people coming and going
that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.”
Mark 6:31

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you “acknowledged the limits” of your humanity and taken steps to live within the order of things? What steps?
  • Can you “rest” in God? Can you be gentle with yourself?”
  • What message are you sending to others who observe your lifestyle?

Abba, ground me as I rest in you.

For More: Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton


Thanks for reading/sharing my blog! – Bill

Daily Riches: Gradually Being Freed From Habitual Hardness of Heart (Thomas Merton)

“Even the capacity to recognize our condition before God is itself a grace. We cannot always attain it at will. To learn mediation does not, therefore, mean learning an artificial technique for infallibly producing ‘compunction’ and the ‘sense of our nothingness’ when ever we please. On the contrary, this would be the result of violence and would be inauthentic. Mediation implies the capacity to receive this grace whenever God wishes to grant it to us, and therefore a permanent disposition to humility, attention to reality, receptivity, pliability. To learn to meditate then means to gradually get free from habitual hardness of heart, torpor and grossness of mind, due to arrogance and non-acceptance of simple reality, or resistance to the concrete demands of God’s will.” Thomas Merton

“Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do
flows from it.”
Proverbs 4:23

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • In his grace, has God allowed you to “recognize your condition before God?” What has that meant for you?
  • Merton says we must have a “permanent disposition to humility, attention to reality, receptivity [and] pliability” to develop the “capacity to receive God’s grace when he wishes to grant it to us.” Can you pray slowly through this list, asking God to show you any areas in your life that need to change?
  • Are you developing practices like Sabbath, solitude and silence, or like meditation and wordless prayer so that God has more and more unhindered access to your heart? …so that your “capacity” to receive from him is increasing?
  • Are you taking risks with your heart, perhaps resisting “the concrete demands of God’s will” even though you know better?

Abba, by your grace, soften my heart to you, so that I may receive fuller, even more needed grace.

For More: Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after 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.”

Daily Riches: Suicide Dives, Collision Courses … and Sabbath (Mark Buchanan)

“There’s an exercise that some pilots go through late in their flight training. The student pilot gets the plane airborne, at cruising altitude. Then the instructor places a loose-fitting, thick-woven sack over the student’s head, so the student can see nothing. The instructor takes the controls and starts stunt-piloting. He loops the loop. He pushes the plane, Turkish-headache-style, skyward, then flips belly-up and swoops earthward. He rollicks and spirals, careens and nosedives, tailspins and wing-tilts. He gets the student utterly discombobulated. Then he puts the plane in a suicide dive, plucks the bag off the student’s head, and hands him the controls. His job: to get the plane back under control. The exercise is called Recovering From an Unusual Attitude. To keep Sabbath, most of us have to recover from an unusual attitude. We find ourselves disoriented, in vertigo. We’re dizzy with all our busyness and on a collision course.” Mark Buchanan

“When salvation comes to your house [like it did with Zacchaeus in Luke 19], first you think differently, then you act differently. First you shift the imagination with which you perceive this world, and then you enact gestures with which you honor it.” Buchanan

“But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord!
Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor,
and if I have cheated anybody out of anything,
I will pay back four times the amount.’”
Luke 19:8

“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways,
but the folly of fools is deception.”
Proverbs 14:8

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you “dizzy” with your busyness? Are you on a “collision course” with reality? Are you too busy for deep thought but wide open to “deception.” (self-deception)
  • Have you “enacted gestures” for your days to allow you to “shift your imagination” and “give thought” to your ways? (e.g., practicing something like the Daily Office, the examen)
  • Have you enacted gestures for your weeks, to allow you to “recover from an unusual attitude” that may be spiritually suicidal? (e.g., keeping a weekly sabbath)

Abba, help me as I embrace new rhythms that create space for me to contemplate my course, your ways, and the foolishness of my noisy world. Deliver me from an unexamined life.


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


“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.” (Marie Antionette) , and thus “Men more often require to be reminded than informed.”  (Samuel Johnson) The purpose of Daily Riches is to return again and again to a list of critical concepts at the core of the spiritual life. “Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you [may] already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught.” (2 Peter 1:12)  I appreciate your interest! When you find this helpful, please share! – Bill