Daily Riches: Your Power to Crush or to Bless (Mark Buchanan)

“‘Look, Daddy! What’s that?’
I stopped talking with my neighbor and looked down.
‘A beetle,’ I said.
David was impressed and pleased with the discovery of this fancy, colorful creature.
My neighbor lifted his foot and stepped on the insect, giving it an extra twist into the dirt.
‘That ought to do it,’ he laughed.
David looked up at me, waiting for an explanation, a reason. I did not wish to embarrass my neighbor, but then David turned, picked up the hose, and continued spraying the raspberries.
That night, just before he turned off the lights in his bedroom, David whispered. ‘I like’d that beetle, Daddy.’
‘I did too,’ I whispered back.

“I used to think the spiritual life was mostly about finding and using our gifts for God’s glory…. More and more I think it is not this, not first, not most. At root, the spiritual life consists in choosing the way of littleness. I become less so that Jesus might become greater. Its essence is No–No to ourselves, our impulses and cravings, our acts of self-promotion and self-vindication, our use of power for its own sake. It calls us to deny ourselves possessions, rights, conquests that we’re temped to claim just because we can. It is growing, day by day, into the same attitude that Christ had, and by exactly the same means: emptying ourselves, giving ourselves. It is refusing to grasp what we think is owed us and instead embracing what we think is beneath us. Simply behold, in love and wonder, what you have strength to crush. Exercise power–power you might use otherwise–to serve, bless, protect.” Mark  Buchanan

“It will be good for those servants
whose master finds them watching when he comes.
… he will dress himself to serve,
will have them recline at the table
and will come and wait on them.”
Luke 12:37

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Choosing “the way of littleness” is usually counter-cultural. Is this something you aspire to do?
  • The phrase “growing day by day” reminds us that spiritual growth is a slow process. What can you do daily to practice “emptying and giving” yourself?
  • Do you think of yourself as having “strength to crush” others? Think about your relationships with this in mind.

Abba, I want to serve, bless, and protect, not harm. Remind me when I go astray.

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: 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.

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

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“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