Daily Riches: Our Illusions When Serving Others (Belden Lane, Meister Eckhart and Oswald Chambers)

“A Christian servant is one who perpetually looks into the face of God and then goes forth to talk to others.” Oswald Chambers

“Meister Eckhart insisted that ‘if a person were in a rapture as great as St. Paul once experienced and learned that his neighbor were in need of a cup of soup, it would be best to withdraw from the rapture and give the person the soup he needs.’ The contemplative returns to the ordinary, not in spite of her detachment from it, but because of that detachment. No longer driven by fear of rejection and loss, she is able now to love others without anxiously needing anything in return. …The author of The Cloud of Unknowing argued that the person steeped in apophatic [wordless] prayer is able to love everyone, without ‘special regard for any individual, whether he is kinsman or stranger, friend or foe.’ Where one is free from the need to impress the one or to fear the other, all can be loved. Eckhart said that people who, through prayer, have become dead to all things and in touch with nothingness, become powerfully and perhaps even dangerously free. They are able to ‘aim at nothing in their works, to intend nothing in their minds, seeking neither reward nor blessedness.’ They move through the world with a compassionate indifference to all its threats and promises. …The truest impulse toward work for social justice, therefore, grows not out of an anxious sense of pity for others or a grandly noble desire to serve, but out of the abandonment of the self in God. A love that works for justice is wholly uncalculating and indifferent, able to accomplish much because it seeks nothing for itself. …In the apophatic way, love is not directed toward an attractive, lovable object. Indeed, it is drawn to that which appears as nothing, to that which is least in this world…. It flourishes in receiving no response, expecting nothing in return. …One’s work for social change, when rooted in such a truth becomes altogether free–released from all the illusions and expectations we usually bring to our service to others.” Belden Lane

“I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding
that they cannot be expressed in words”
2 Corinthians 12:4

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you love “expecting nothing in return?”
  • Do you “move through the world with a compassionate indifference to all its threats and promises?”
  • How could you perpetually “look into the face of God” before attempting to care for others?

Abba, teach me this often unfamiliar, always counterintuitive love.

For More: The Solace of Fierce Landscapes by Belden Lane

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Thank you for sharing/following my blog! Please leave a question or comment. I appreciate your interest! – Bill

 

Daily Riches: True Greatness as Great Humility (William Law) *

“Condescend to all the weaknesses and infirmities of your fellow-creatures, cover their frailties, love their excellencies, encourage their virtues, relieve their wants, rejoice in their prosperities, compassionate their distress, receive their friendship, overlook their unkindness, forgive their malice, be a servant of servants, and condescend to do the lowest offices to the lowest of mankind.”    William Law

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness,
humility, gentleness and patience.
Bear with each other and forgive one another
if any of you has a grievance against someone.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
And over all these virtues put on love,
which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
Colossians 3:12-14

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
not looking to your own interests
but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Philippians 2:3-4

“For it is the one who is least among you all
who is the greatest.”
Jesus, in Luke 9:48

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • If you were to name three truly great people, who would they be? What would your criteria be? Would any of them be those whom Jesus calls “the least?”
  • Slowly and prayerfully read over Law’s list again. These are difficult words, but they really only restate in some way what the Bible already calls us to do. What is your response?
  • Are you willing to live by this kind of counter-cultural set of values? In what specific way could you begin to do so, or to do so more than you do already? Can you ask God to show you now?

Abba, I resist giving up my rights and dislike condescending to others. Like the disciples, I’m afraid I’m more interested in honor than humility. Help me to take the more difficult, more honorable, more loving road this day. Let me begin in some small but concrete way.

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For More: A Call To A Devout and Holy Life by William Law

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Thomas Merton’s goal is his writing is the same as mine in this blog: “The purpose of a book of meditations is to teach you how to think and not to do your thinking for you. Consequently if you pick up such a book and simply read it through, you are wasting your time. As soon as any thought stimulates your mind or your heart you can put the book down because your meditation has begun.” I’m not Thomas Merton (!), yet I hope these Daily Riches will lead you into much life-enriching mediation. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: True Greatness (William Law)

“Condescend to all the weaknesses and infirmities of your fellow-creatures, cover their frailties, love their excellencies, encourage their virtues, relieve their wants, rejoice in their prosperities, compassionate their distress, receive their friendship, overlook their unkindness, forgive their malice, be a servant of servants, and condescend to do the lowest offices to the lowest of mankind.”    William Law

“Jesus, knowing their thoughts,
took a little child and had him stand beside him.
Then he said to them,
“Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me;
and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.
For it is the one who is least among you all
who is the greatest.”
Luke 9:47,48

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • If you were to name three truly great people, who would they be? What would your criteria be? Would any of them be those whom Jesus calls “the least?”
  • Slowly and prayerfully read over Law’s list again. I hear this call as a very difficult one. What is your response?
  • What action can you plan to take to create opportunities for you to practice true greatness in terms of this kind of humility?

Abba, I resist giving up my rights and dislike condescending to others. Like the disciples, I’m afraid I’m more interested in being honored than in humility. Help me to take the more difficult, more honorable, more loving road this day.

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For More: A Call To A Devout and Holy Life by William Law

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