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

_________________________________________________

“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: 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 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.

__________

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)