Being Unimpressive (5 October 2019)

Morning Encounter:

Read: 

When Daniel was brought in, the king said: So you are Daniel, one of the captives my father brought back from Judah! I was told that the gods have given you special powers and that you are intelligent and very wise. Neither my advisors nor the men who talk with the spirits of the dead could read this writing or tell me what it means. But I have been told that you understand everything and that you can solve difficult problems. Now then, if you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will become the third most powerful man in my kingdom. You will wear royal purple robes and have a gold chain around your neck. Daniel answered: Your Majesty, I will read the writing and tell you what it means. But you may keep your gifts or give them to someone else.

(Daniel 5.13-17a)

Reflect: 

Daniel rejects the king’s offer of costly clothing, jewellery and status. He may have been tempted but he remembers that God is his source of provision, protection and identity. Daniel does not want to be swayed away from his relationship with God.  

Respond: 

Refrain from the need to show-off, image-manage or impress others. Let your words (especially about yourself) be few. Resist the temptation to manipulate, to gossip or speak negatively about other people.

Midday Meditation:

‘Experiencing the inward reality (of simplicity) liberates us outwardly. Speech becomes truthful and honest. The lust for status and position is gone because we no longer need status or position. We cease from showy extravagance, not on the grounds of being unable to afford it, but on the grounds of principle. Our goods become available to others.’ 

(Richard Foster Celebration of Discipline)

Evening Reflection:

Dear God,
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!
Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?
Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands
and to discover that I am not what I own,
but what you want to give me. 

(Henri Nouwen)

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