Daily Riches: Sabbath – The Wisdom of Dormancy (George MacDonald, Wayne Muller, Mark Buchanan and Rob Bell)

‘It is our best work that he wants, not the dregs of our exhaustion. So many seem ambitious to kill themselves in the service of the Master – and as quickly as possible. Come with us to God’s infirmary in the country and rest for a while.”  George MacDonald

“Sabbath honors the necessary wisdom of dormancy. If certain plant species, for example, do not lie dormant for winter, they will not bear fruit in the spring. If this continues for more than a season, the plant begins to die. If dormancy continues to be prevented, the entire species will die. A period of rest … is a spiritual and biological necessity.” Wayne Muller

“Sabbath is …
…taking a day a week to remind myself that I did not make the world and that it will continue to exist without my efforts.
…a day when my work is done, even if it isn’t.
…a day when my job is to enjoy. Period.
…a day when I am fully available to myself and those I love most.
…a day when I remember that when God made the world, he saw that it was good.
…a day when I produce nothing.
…a day when at the end I say, ‘I didn’t do anything today,’ and I don’t add, ‘And I feel so guilty.’
…a day when my phone is turned off, I don’t check my email, and you can’t get a hold of me.”
Rob Bell

“’Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any [manna].’
Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none.
Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions?
Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath;
that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days.
Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.'”
Exodus 16:25-30

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is everyday the same to you?
  • Are you out “looking for manna” on the seventh day?
  • Does your life reflect the biological necessity of dormancy?
  • Are you rested enough to give God your best?

Abba, help me honor your ordained rhythms.

For More: Notes From an Unhurried Life by Alan Fadling

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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: Gluttonous Insecurity (Mark Buchanan and Thomas Merton)

“Anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity.” Thomas Merton

“Some of the most gifted people I’ve met are also some of the most broken. Their giftedness has not led them to a place of serenity and thankfulness…[instead] it’s led them to barrenness: fretting, blaming, self-pity, envy, accusation… My giftedness – modest as it is – has fed my insecurity more times than it has helped me vanquish it. I rarely rejoice in the times I think I have spoken or written well. It produces in me something more akin to panic: Can I do it again? Did I really do it then? If I’m doing well, why don’t more people say so? What’s wrong with them? What’s wrong with me? In quietness and rest is your salvation, God says. But we want to flee and amass horses, chariots, accolades, pats on the back – just about anything to bolster our sense of security and worthiness. But none of those things can. All they do is send us scurrying in the opposite direction. They just widen the hole we want them to fill. Like gluttony, insecurity’s appetite increases with every bite.” Mark Buchanan

“The reason we never enter into the deepest reality of our relationship with God is that we so seldom acknowledge our utter nothingness before him.” … “Quit keeping score altogether and surrender yourself with all your sinfulness to God who sees neither the score nor the scorekeeper but only his child redeemed by Christ.” … “God is asking me, the unworthy, to forget my unworthiness and that of my brothers, and dare to advance in the love which has redeemed and renewed us all in God’s likeness. And to laugh, after all at  the preposterous ideas of ‘worthiness’.”  Thomas Merton

“Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?
It is God who justifies.
Who then is the one who condemns?
No one.”
Romans 8:33

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are you insecure? Do you need to think well of yourself?
  • Do you depend on the respect of others for your “sense of … worthiness?”
  • Have you entered into “the deepest reality [of your] utter nothingness” before God? Have you “surrendered yourself with all your sinfulness to God … [who sees] only his child redeemed by Christ?”

Abba, if I have you, I will want for nothing – and I have you.

For More: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

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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 Priority of Presence, The Necessity of Revelation (Aidan Kavanagh, Kathleen Norris, Mark Buchanan)

“Some knowing is never pursued, only received. And for that, you need to be still.” Mark Buchanan

“It was a presence, not faith, which drew Moses to the burning bush. And what happened there was a revelation, not a seminar. It was a presence, not faith, which drew the disciples to Jesus, and what happened then was not an educational program but his revelation to them of himself as the long-promised Anointed One…. Their lives, like that of Moses, were changed radically by that encounter with a Presence which upended all their ordinary expectations. Their descendants in faith have been adjusting to that change ever since, drawn into assembly by that same Presence, finding there always the troublesome upset of change in their lives of faith to which they must adjust still. Here is where their lives are regularly being constituted and reconstituted under grace.” Aidan Kavanagh

“We make such a fuss about ‘seeking God.’ We’re anxious about so many things, and faith, prayer, and searching for God are not excepted. Are you doing it right? Will a retreat teach us a better way? Which method of prayer will be most effective for us? What church congregation will best ‘feed us spiritually’? Probably the best thing we can do is to relax, take a deep breath, stop thinking about what we want or need, and forget about it. Seeking God, that is. Instead we might wait, and begin to silently ponder the ways in which God may already have been seeking us, all along, in the faulty, scary stuff of our ordinary lives.” Kathleen Norris

“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
I was found by those who did not seek me.
To a nation that did not call on my name, I said,
‘Here am I, here am I.’”
Isaiah 65:1

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you focused on diligently “pursuing” rather than humbly “receiving” from God?
  • Are you trusting educational programs, oblivious to God’s revelatory program – where ongoing encounters with his Presence are the key to transformation?
  • Have you made sanctification or spiritual formation into one more  project, when instead you should “wait, and … silently ponder” how God may have been coming to you? …how God is coming to you now?

Abba, help me learn to see what I routinely miss from you.

For More: On Liturgical Theology by Aidan Kavanagh

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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: Sabbath…Emerge Elated and Refreshed (Mark Buchanan)

“We all know how unsatisfying mere leisure can be. We’ve all known what it’s like to return to the classroom or the workplace after a time spent in revelry or retreat, in high jinks or hibernation: typically, we go back weary and depressed, like jailbirds caught. The time away from work wasn’t time sanctified so much as time stolen, time when we escaped for a short-lived escapade. The difference between this and Sabbath couldn’t be sharper. Sanctifying some time adds richness to all time, just as an hour with the one you love brings light and levity to the hours that follow. To spend time with the object of your desire is to emerge, not sullen and peevish, but elated and refreshed. You come away filled, not depleted. …We resist that which six days of coming and going, pushing and pulling, dodging and weaving, fighting and defending have bred into us. What we deny ourselves is our well-trained impulses to get and to spend and to make and to master. This day, we go in a direction we’re unaccustomed to, unfamiliar with, that the other six days have made seem unnatural to us. …Sabbath is time sanctified, time betrothed…. We are more intimate with it. We are more thankful for it. We are more protective of it and generous with it. We become more ourselves in the presence of Sabbath: more vulnerable, less afraid. More ready to confess, to be silent, to be small, to be valiant.” Mark Buchanan

“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and Yahweh’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
then you will find your joy in Yahweh….”
Isaiah 58:13-14a

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • When you return from time off are you “weary and depressed” or “elated and refreshed?” Why is that?
  • Is God speaking to you through any of these words about Sabbath? Which ones? Saying what?
  • Would you benefit from blocking out one day a week to be “with the object of your desire?” Will you take your calendar and do it now?

Abba, thank you for the life-giving oasis of Sabbath rest.

For More: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

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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: What Happens in Stillness (Mark Buchanan)

“Sabbath living orients us toward that which, apart from rest, we will always miss. The root idea of Sabbath is simple as rain falling, basic as breathing. It’s that all living things – and many nonliving things too – thrive only by an ample measure of stillness. A bird flying, never nesting, is soon plummeting. Grass trampled, day after day, scalps down to the hard bone of the earth. Fruit constantly inspected bruises, blights. …a saw used without relenting – its teeth never filed, its blade never cooled – grows dull and brittle; a motor never shut off gums with residue or fatigues from thinness of oil – it sputters, it stalls, it seizes. Even companionship languishes without seasons of apartness. God stitched into the nature of things an inviolable need to be left alone now and then. The primary way people receive this aloneness and stillness is, of course, through sleep. We can defy slumber only so long … past a certain point, we collapse. We must submit to sleep’s benign tyranny, enter its inescapable vulnerability and solitariness. …The tricky thing about Sabbath, though, is it’s a form of rest unlike sleep. Sleep is so needed that, defied too long, our bodies inevitably, even violently, force the issue. Sleep eventually waylays all fugitives. It catches you and has its way with you. Sabbath won’t do that. Resisted, it backs off. Spurned, it flees. It’s easy to skirt or defy Sabbath, to manufacture cheap substitutes in its place – and to do all that, initially, without noticeable damage, and sometimes, briefly, with admirable results. It’s easy, in other words, to spend most of your life breaking Sabbath and never figure out that this is part of the reason your work’s unsatisfying, your friendships patchy, your leisure threadbare, your vacations exhausting. We simply haven’t taken time. We’ve not been still long enough, often enough, to know ourselves, our friends, our family. Our God.” Mark Buchanan

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God….” Hebrews 4:9

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you bring your best self to your projects? your relationships?
  • If not, are you too exhausted or preoccupied even to care?
  • Have you “been still long enough, often enough” to know yourself, your friends, your family – your God?

Abba, help me relax and enjoy the rest you offer.

For More: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

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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: Purpose Driven or Just Driven? (Mark Buchanan)

“Drivenness may awaken purpose or be a catalyst for purpose, but it rarely fulfills it: More often it jettisons it. A common characteristic of driven people is that, at some point, they forget their purpose. They lose the point. The very reason they began something – embarked on a journey, undertook a project, waged a war, entered a profession, married a woman – erodes under the weight of their striving. Their original inspiration may have been noble. But driven too hard, it gets supplanted by greed for more, or dread of setback, or force of habit. Drivenness erodes purposefulness. The difference between living on purpose and being driven surfaces most clearly in what we do with time. The driven are fanatical time managers – time-mongers, time-herders, time-hoarders. Living on purpose requires skillful time management, true, but not the kind that turns brittle, that attempts to quarantine most of what makes life what it is: the mess, the surprises, the breakdowns, and the breakthroughs. Too much rigidity stifles purpose. I find that the more I try to manage time, the more anxious I get about it. And the more prone I am to lose my purpose. Truly purposeful people have an ironic secret: They manage time less and pay attention more. The most purposeful people I know rarely overmanage time, and when they do, it’s usually because they’re lapsing into drivenness, into a loss of purpose for which they overcompensate with mere busyness. No, the distinguishing mark of purposeful people is not time management. It’s that they notice. They’re fully awake.” Mark Buchanan

“And there arose also a dispute among [Jesus’ disciples]
as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest.”
Luke 22:24

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you find that the more you attempt to manage time, “the more anxious you get about it?” … and more “prone” to lose your purpose?  or temper?
  • How often do you “pay attention more?” How often are you “fully awake?”
  • Do you “overcompensate with busyness” when you stray from your purpose? What can you do to change that?

Abba, when I lapse into drivenness, when I overcompensate with busyness, remind me not to hurry, remind me to be fully awake, remind me to listen well, to love well, and to choose a pace that allows for depth and intimacy with you and others.

For More: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

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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 Crucible of Interruptions (Mark Buchanan)

“Jesus … lived life with the clearest and highest purpose. Yet he veered and strayed from one interruption to the next, with no apparent plan in hand other than his single, overarching one: Get to Jerusalem and die. Otherwise, his days, as far as we can figure, were a series of zigzags and detours, apparent whims and second thoughts, interruptions and delays, off-the-cuff plans, spur-of-the-moment decisions, leisurely meals, serendipitous rounds of storytelling. …Purposefulness requires paying attention, and paying attention means … that we make room for surprise. We become hospitable to interruption. I doubt we can notice for long without this hospitality. And to sustain it we need … a conviction in our bones that God is Lord of our days and years, and that his purposes and his presence often come disguised as detours, messes, defeats. ‘I came to you naked,’ Jesus says. ‘I came to you thirsty.’ ‘When, Lord?’ we ask, startled. When He wore the disguise of an interruption. Think a moment of all the events and encounters that have shaped you most deeply and lastingly. How many did you see coming? How many did you engineer, manufacture, chase down? And how many were interruptions? The span between life as we intend it and life as we receive it is vast. Our true purpose is worked out in that gap. It is fashioned in the crucible of interruptions.” Mark Buchanan

“Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro … and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness … and he looked, and behold, [a] bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. So Moses said, ‘I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.'” Exodus 3:1-3

Moving From Head to Heart

  • What if Moses hadn’t “turned aside?”
  • Imagine yourself living as Jesus did, with “zigzags and detours …” etc. How would that feel?
  • Can you become more hospitable to what happens in “the [vast] span between life as you intend it and life as you receive it?”

Abba, “Grant us, we pray you, a heart wide open to all this joy and beauty, and save our souls from being so steeped in care or so darkened by passion that we pass heedless and unseeeing when even the thornbush by the wayside is aflame with the glory of God.” Walter Rauschenbusch

For More: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

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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: New Gestures for a Changed Life (Mark Buchanan)

“Repentance is a ruthless dismantling of old ways of seeing and thinking, and then a diligent and vigilant building of new ones. …We need to change our minds, yes, but we also need to change our ways. And for this we require practices to embody and rehearse our change of mind. The physical is a handmaiden to the spiritual, but a necessary one, without practices—without gestures with which to honor fresh ways of perceiving—any change of mind will be superficial, artificial, short-lived. We might attain a genuinely new thought, but without some way of putting it into practice, the thought gets suck in abstractions, lost in forgetting. Good practices are both catalysts and incubators for new thoughts, they initiate them, and they nurture them. But they do even more: they make real our change of mind. It’s like marriage. When I married my wife, Cheryl, I had to change my mind about who I was. I was no longer a bachelor. My habits of thought had, for more than twenty years, taken shape around the fact of my singleness. I had bachelor attitudes about how to spend time and money, about the ideal color to paint a bedroom, about the best car to drive, about other women. It all had to go through a dramatic shift, in some cases a complete about-face, when I took vows (actually, the change began a long time prior to that, and continues lifelong.) I had to–have to–change my mind. But if I changed only my mind and never changed my behavior, I doubt I’d still be married. I have needed, at every turn, practices that embody and rehearse–that make real–my change of mind. [cf. Zacchaeus’ story in Luke 19] …When salvation comes to your house, 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.” Mark Buchanan


“Jesus said to [Zacchaeus], ‘Today salvation has come to this house….'” Luke 19:9

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Has “salvation come to your house” but left you frustratingly unchanged?
  • Have your resolutions to change been “short-lived?”
  • Are there practices (“gestures”) that you can adopt to build change into your daily routine, and thereby, your life?

Abba, help me as you and I work out my salvation.

For More: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

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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: Everyone Around You is Exhausted … Are You? (Wayne Muller and Mark Buchanan)

“I have visited the large offices of wealthy donors, the crowded rooms of social service agencies, and the small houses of the poorest families. Remarkably, within this mosaic there is a universal refrain: I am so busy. It does not seem to matter if the people I speak with are doctors or day-care workers, shopkeepers or social workers, parents or teachers, nurses or lawyers, students or therapists, community activists or cooks…. As their work all piles endlessly upon itself, the whole experience of being alive begins to melt into one enormous obligation. It becomes the standard greeting everywhere: ‘I am so busy.’” Wayne Muller

“And something dies in us. Too much work, the British used to say, makes Jack a dull boy. But it’s worse than that. It numbs Jack, parches Jack, hardens Jack. It kills his heart. When we get too busy, everything becomes either a trudge or a scramble, the doldrums or sheer mayhem. We get bored with the familiar, threatened by the unfamiliar. Our capacity for both steadfastness and adventure shrivels. One measure for whether or not you’re rested enough … is to ask yourself this: How much do I care about the things I care about? When we lose concern for people, both the lost and the found, for the bride of Christ, for friendship, for truth and beauty and goodness; when we cease to laugh when our children laugh (and instead yell at them to quiet down) or weep when our spouses weep (and instead wish they didn’t get so emotional); when we hear news of trouble among our neighbors and our first thought is that we hope it isn’t going to involve us – when we stop caring about the things we care about – that’s a signal we’re too busy.” Mark Buchanan

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”
Hebrews 4:7

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Does your life feel like “one enormous obligation?” Do you feel like a slave?
  • Are you too busy and tired to “care about the things you care about?”
  • Are you able to believe the good news that God wants to save you from such a life?
  • If you’re not already keeping a Sabbath day, would you try it one week? for one month?

Abba, help me protect this day for myself – and my salvation.

For More: Sabbath by Wayne Muller

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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.”