Daily Riches: Following Jesus in the Workplace (Robert Lawrence Smith)

“For Quakers in colonial days, going into business was often less a choice than a process of elimination. Although they enjoyed very high literacy rates for the period, seventeenth-century Friends were excluded from most universities and from positions in public office. Their testimony against war kept them out of the military and politics. Establishing a small business became a popular option for people devoted to independence, hard work and thrift.  Because Friends always shunned luxury and frivolous spending, the small businessmen of early years focused on providing a limited range of necessities. They were tailors, hatters, printers, booksellers, undertakers. Since trading by ship involved using guns for the protection of goods, they rarely became exporters or importers. Quaker inronmongers refused to make weapons and manufactured much-needed cookware instead. …And because some dyes were the product of slave labor, many Quakers refused to wear or make clothing of colored cloth. Despite these limitations, most of these small businesses prospered. And when they did, Quaker tradesmen began to worry about letting an interest in commerce dominate their lives. Early merchants often wrote of reducing or refusing to expand booming businesses because their enterprises were taking too much time from their spiritual and communal responsibilities. John Woolman, the saintly Quaker abolitionist, was a successful tailor, merchant, and grafter of fruit trees who suffered great anxiety about his worldly success. As he wrote in his journal, ‘The increase of business became my burden.’ He struggled with the problem for some time and finally put the question to God, who ‘gave me a heart resigned to His Holy will; I then lessened my outward business.” Robert Lawrence Smith

“So I strive always to keep my conscience clear
before God and man.”
Acts 24:16

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Much has changed since these Quakers lived, but they didn’t “fit in” any more then than they would today. In their day, as in ours, conscience-less business deals and exploiting others was simply doing business. Has your Christian faith kept you from certain business investments, labor practices or careers?
  • Before reading about these Christian businessmen, did taking a moral stand in your business dealings that would cost you money, seem simply impossible or hopelessly impractical?
  • Have you ever wrestled with whether God may want less “worldly success” for you?

Jesus, may we follow you with integrity in all the parts of our lives – no compartments!

For More: A Quaker Book of Wisdom by Robert Lawrence Smith

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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 and share my blog. 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)

Daily Riches: Beyond Dualistic Thinking (Richard Rohr) *

“Jesus’ direct and clear teachings on issues such as nonviolence; a simple lifestyle; love of the poor and our enemies; forgiveness, inclusivity, and mercy; and not seeking status, power, perks, or possessions have all been overwhelmingly ignored throughout history by mainline Christian churches, even those who so proudly call themselves orthodox or biblical. This avoidance defies explanation until we understand how dualistic thinking protects and pads the ego and its fear of change. Notice that the things we Christians have largely ignored require actual change to ourselves. The things we emphasized instead were usually intellectual beliefs or moral superiority stances that asked almost nothing of us—but compliance from others: the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth, the atonement theory, and beliefs about reproduction and sex. After a while, you start to recognize the underlying bias that is at work. The ego diverts your attention from anything that would ask you to change, to righteous causes that invariably ask others to change. Such issues give you a sense of moral high ground without costing you anything ….Whole people see and create wholeness wherever they go. Split people split up everything and everybody else. By the second half of our lives, we are meant to see in wholes and no longer just in parts.” Richard Rohr

“A party of order or stability [conservatives], and a party of progress or reform [liberals] are both necessary elements of a healthy state of political life.” John Stuart Mill

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust
in your brother’s eye
and pay no attention
to the plank in your own eye?”
Luke 6:41

Moving from the Head to the Heart

  • Does your Christianity emphasize “intellectual beliefs” or “righteous causes” that require “outsiders” to change but not you?
  • Do you see how your ego works to protect the you-who-needs-to-change from hearing any real call to change?
  • Is your mind trapped in “polarity thinking” that makes you change-averse? What does your answer say about you?
  • “Why DO you look at the speck … and not at the plank?” Luke 6:41

Abba, teach me to recognize the voice of my ego, and to free myself from its blinding, destructive grip. Teach me to drop my armor and welcome the work of your Spirit in me.

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For More: The Naked Now by Richard Rohr

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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)

Daily Riches: Beyond “Either, Or” (Richard Rohr)

“Jesus’ direct and clear teachings on issues such as nonviolence; a simple lifestyle; love of the poor and our enemies; forgiveness, inclusivity, and mercy; and not seeking status, power, perks, or possessions have all been overwhelmingly ignored throughout history by mainline Christian churches, even those who so proudly call themselves orthodox or biblical. This avoidance defies explanation until we understand how dualistic thinking protects and pads the ego and its fear of change. Notice that the things we Christians have largely ignored require actual change to ourselves. The things we emphasized instead were usually intellectual beliefs or moral superiority stances that asked almost nothing of us—but compliance from others: the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth, the atonement theory, and beliefs about reproduction and sex. After a while, you start to recognize the underlying bias that is at work. The ego diverts your attention from anything that would ask you to change, to righteous causes that invariably ask others to change. Such issues give you a sense of moral high ground without costing you anything ….Whole people see and create wholeness wherever they go. Split people split up everything and everybody else. By the second half of our lives, we are meant to see in wholes and no longer just in parts.” Richard Rohr

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust
in your brother’s eye
and pay no attention
to the plank in your own eye?”
Luke 6:41

Moving from the Head to the Heart

  • Does your Christianity emphasize “intellectual beliefs” or “righteous causes” that require “outsiders” to change but not you?
  • Do you see how your ego works to protect the you-who-needs-to-change from hearing any real call to change?
  • Is your mind trapped in “polarity thinking” that makes you change-averse? What does your answer say about you?
  • “Why DO you look …?” Luke 6:41

Abba, teach me to recognize the voice of my ego, and to free myself from its blinding, destructive grip. Teach me to drop my armor and welcome the work of your Spirit in me.

__________

For More: The Naked Now by Richard Rohr

_________________________________________________

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)