Daily Riches: Our Need to Impress (James M. Campbell and Ruth Haley Barton) *

“For fourteen years he had kept silent about it.” James Campbell

“…  I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven [and] this man … heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. … I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations.”  2 Corinthians 12:1-7a

“We might commit ourselves to pondering the things that take place during solitude in our heart, as Mary did, at least for a time, rather than sharing them too quickly or using them immediately as tools for ministry. This a way of keeping some things precious and sacred… [like] we protect the privacy of our interactions with intimate friends.” Ruth Haley Barton

In a “supassingly great” manner, the apostle Paul was transported to heaven where he saw powerful “visions” and heard “inexpressible [secret] things.” In all his days of ministry, he never tried to use this to enhance his reputation, and he refuses to do so now. (:5) Even here, he refers to himself only indirectly as “a man in Christ.” This comes up now only because the Corinthian church was immaturely infatuated with the “superapostles” in their midst (:11). Paul’s experience put him in a special class. No one else had such credentials! Even so, “For fourteen years [Paul] had kept silent about it.”

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Could you keep silent about something so impressive for fourteen years? Paul did. What does this says about him?
  • Are you quick to share things that make you look good? a substantial prayer life, some “power encounter”, a long fast, an experiment with monastery life, years of keeping the Sabbath or centering prayer, etc.? How often do we hear about such exploits in a sermon, an article, in a blog, or through social media? What do you think this says about us?
  • When you share something “precious and sacred”, it changes it. What is gained instead, by keeping something sacred a secret?

Abba, deliver me from my need to impress or be thought well of. Let your approval suffice for me.

__________

For More: Paul the Mystic by James M. Campbell

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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 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: Obscurity and Intimacy with God (Richard Foster and Thomas Merton) *

“Because our daily tasks afford us constant opportunity to engage in the ministry of small things it is through this work that we become most intimately acquainted with God. …Small things are the genuinely big things in the kingdom of God. It is here we truly face the issues of obedience and discipleship. It is not hard to be a model disciple amid camera lights and press releases. But in the small corners of life, in those areas of service that will never be newsworthy or gain us any recognition we must hammer out the meaning of obedience. Amid the obscurity of family and friends, neighbors, and work associates, we find God.” Richard Foster

“It is in the ordinary duties and labors of life that the Christian can and should develop his spiritual union with God.” Thomas Merton

“Who dares despise the day of small things …” Zechariah 4:10

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • The small daily opportunities we have to obey and serve – doing little things that garner us no applause  – God uses to make us “most intimately acquainted” with him.
  • Are you willing to do without the applause? to purposely choose to stay out of the spotlight? to be relatively invisible? Is God’s approval enough for you? What do your answers say about you?
  • We’re really talking about our inner lives with God and the battle being fought there. What change can you make to what you regularly do, to allow secrecy and obscurity to shape you?

Abba, as much as I hate to admit it, I love the sound of applause. Help me, whether I choose obscurity or have it thrust upon me, to submit myself to its good work in my life.

__________

For More: The Challenge of the Disciplined Life by Richard Foster

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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: Paul’s Practice of “Secrecy” (James M. Campbell)

“For fourteen years he had kept silent about it.” James Campbell

“…  I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven [and] this man … heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. … I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations.”  2 Corinthians 12:1-7a

In a “supassingly great” manner, the apostle Paul was transported to heaven where he saw powerful “visions” and heard “inexpressible [secret] things.” In all his days of ministry, he never tried to use this to enhance his reputation, and he refuses to do so now. (:5) Even here, he refers to himself only indirectly as “a man in Christ.” This comes up now only because the Corinthian church was immaturely infatuated with the “superapostles” in their midst (:11). Paul’s experience put him in a special class. No one else had such credentials! Even so, “For fourteen years [Paul] had kept silent about it.”

Moving From Head to Heart

  • If you had experienced something like this, could you keep silent about it for fourteen years? Paul did. What does this says about him?
  • Have you noticed how quick many of us are to “share” things that make us look good? a long fast, an experiment with life in a monastery, years of keeping the Sabbath or of centering prayer, etc.? How often do we hear about such exploits in a sermon, an article, in a blog, or through social media? What do you think this says about us?
  • When you share something good that you’ve done, it changes it. What is to be gained instead, by keeping something sacred a secret?

Abba, deliver me from my need to impress or be thought well of. Let your approval suffice for me.

__________

For More: Paul the Mystic by James M. Campbell

_________________________________________________

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: The Gift of Obscurity (Richard Foster and Thomas Merton)

“Because our daily tasks afford us constant opportunity to engage in the ministry of small things it is through this work that we become most intimately acquainted with God. … Small things are the genuinely big things in the kingdom of God. It is here we truly face the issues of obedience and discipleship. It is not hard to be a model disciple amid camera lights and press releases. But in the small corners of life, in those areas of service that will never be newsworthy or gain us any recognition we must hammer out the meaning of obedience. Amid the obscurity of family and friends, neighbors, and work associates, we find God.” Richard Foster

“It is in the ordinary duties and labors of life that the Christian can and should develop his spiritual union with God.” Thomas Merton

“Who dares despise the day of small things …” Zechariah 4:10

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • The small daily opportunities we have to obey and serve – doing little things that garner us no applause  – God uses to make us “most intimately acquainted” with him.
  • Are you willing to do without the applause? to purposely choose to stay out of the spotlight? to be relatively invisible? Is God’s approval enough for you? What do your answers say about you?
  • We’re really talking about our inner lives with God and the battle being fought there. What change can you make to what you regularly do, to more often choose secrecy and obscurity?

Abba, as much as I hate to admit it, I love the sound of applause. Help me, whether I choose obscurity or have it thrust upon me, to submit myself to its good work in my life.

__________

For More: The Challenge of the Disciplined Life by Richard Foster

_________________________________________________

The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to provide you with 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)