"'Still other seed fell on good soil, where it sprouted, grew up, and produced a crop—one bearing thirtyfold, another sixtyfold, and another a hundredfold.' Then Jesus said, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear.'" ~ Mark 4:8-9
What's with the food?
I'll get back to that in a minute. :)
Hello and happy happy Monday, beauties!!!
I hope you had a wonderful weekend and are looking forward to an amazing and effective week!
So, the other day I was listening to the most amazing Ravi Zacharias, apologist and theologian extraordinaire, narrate his book "Why Jesus?"
In it, Mr. Zacharias tells a story of a certain post-modern nouveau-spiritualist leader, who spent three weeks becoming a monk in Thailand.
I think in the book it was portrayed as being about a week, perhaps in India? I can't recall the specifics, and since I was listening, not reading, I can't flip the pages back to check. :)
In all fairness, I'm not sure if this is something that happened more than once or if the details were lost, possibly even between his words and my ears and the retention of my brain.
When I went to do my own due diligence on the story, I found the tale of a three week journey in Thailand.
Either way, the point stands.
What is it about us as humans that reaches for a McDonalds spiritual experience?
Yes, in Western culture, we're conditioned to want what we want and want it now. Not only that, we want it the way we want it. The aforementioned McDonalds is a perfect example.
The story told by this contemporary guru, for lack of a better term, was called, "A Monk's Tale."
Granted, this is not a Christian story, but I do believe it is highly illustrative and may just help us remember that the journey we are on is not always a McDonalds path, neither in nourishment or duration of delivery.
How often do we want God to deliver our hopes or requests right now, just the way we imagine it?
He loves us too much for that.
I think in our minds we know that, but sometimes our yearning for control, our impatience, and our desire to have things be the way we want them when we want them supersedes that knowledge.
Sometimes we forget this is a lifelong journey we are on. A journey of growth and drawing nearer.
There are the fortunate, those who have a come to Jesus moment that is absolutely definitive. They, like Saul, have an undeniable encounter that was so real and so transformative, that there would never again be room for question or doubt.
Then, there's everyone else, who when the whispers of the world creep in must choose again and again; who must say to themselves, sometimes even out loud, "I choose the Messiah. I choose my Savior over this day and this moment. I belong to Yeshua HaMashiach. I am His, He is mine. I am a child of the Most High God."
Whatever the words we choose, sometimes in the face of fear, in the face of doubt, in the face of whatever makes us drift, in the face of whatever may be calling us to distraction, we must say...
I am His. He is mine.
Over and over and over again. We make a choice.
That's not a McDonalds spirituality.
That is a life long commitment.
I am trying to imagine how it is that declaring oneself a monk after a three week privileged experience of walking in the shoes of another honors or acknowledges in any way the commitment of someone who chooses to dedicate all their days to a way of life they believe will grant them an access to better knowing and understanding of God, I really am.
Christianity too has its own version of this whole life and being commitment journey. (Just a little reminder, I am not catholic, but my grandmother and great grandmother were both devoutly so. Their influence does occasionally show up.)
The woman who was meant to be my godmother was a nun. Sister Angeline.
I treasure to this day knowing she wished she could, but had to decline because she was not permitted earthly ties.
Every time I see the photo of my father with her at my parents' wedding, I can't help but smile.
She chose a lifetime of sacrifice, so that she could dedicate herself to the Father in the best way she knew how, in the many ways she was called.
We are all asked to sacrifice at times.
It may not be a lifetime cloistered, but in ways small and large, we are asked to sacrifice, and it is without question one of the ways God grows us in our faith.
We get to choose to be good soil.
We get to choose to grow.
We get to choose to move beyond baby food spirituality.
And, we most definitely get to choose spiritual food that is truly nourishing, intentionally well made, far beyond the McDonald's offerings of the world.
Now, I'm not going to pretend I wouldn't absolutely adore the cultural and cross-spiritual insight of spending three weeks in a monastery in Thailand. I would take the opportunity in a heartbeat.
I enjoy seeing things from other spiritual perspectives. It helps me anchor into Scripture somehow.
What it would not do is make me a monk... or a nun... or whatever.
There's no quick fix for most of us.
God bless those who experience a Saul conversion.
For the rest of us, we choose day by day.
There's a time and place for milk, rather than solid food.
And, there's a time to grow beyond milk.
When Samuel did not yet know the Lord, Eli instructed him, at the voice of the Lord to say "Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening."
We all have that choice.
When that is for each of us, what that looks like for each of us, only God knows.
When we make ourselves available, and like Elisha say, "Here I am, Lord." who knows where He may take us?
I believe, when we commit and make the choice over and again over time, He will bring us beyond spiritual baby food, growing in good soil, ever nearer to Him, ever closer to who He created us to be.
This I pray for us all.
May we all move beyond McDonalds and baby food and three weeks to monk-hood. May we make our hearts ready to transition to not only solid food, but a feast of His presence, eternally knowing and nearer to Him, to the bounty He has for us.
(Bounteous feast of solid food... thus the image above, to bring us full circle. :) )
Our most amazing Abba Father,
Thank You, for helping us to be good soil.
Thank You, for helping us to say, "Speak, for Your servant is listening." when we hear Your voice.
Thank You, for helping us to be ready for and to receive solid food.
Thank You, for helping us to have the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the will to walk in Your way all the days of our lives.
Thank You for helping us to wholeheartedly pray, "Here am I. Send me!"
May we run with endurance the race You have set before us.
In Your most Holy names we pray,
"I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for solid food..." ~ 1 Corinthians 3:2
"Once again, for the third time, the LORD called to Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, 'Here I am, for you have called me.' Then Eli realized that it was the LORD who was calling the boy. 'Go and lie down,' he said to Samuel, 'and if He calls you, say, 'Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.' So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Then the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, 'Samuel! Samuel!' And Samuel answered, 'Speak, for Your servant is listening.'" ~ 1 Samuel 3:8-10
"And I said: 'Here am I. Send me!'" ~ Isaiah 6:8b
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
Bonus song of praise... ♥
(It's a little more boyband than I tend to lean, but it's a perfect lyric du jour. May the journey you're on be blessed of the Father.)
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