Day 21

Volf talks about who we are to be in this day and age. “Waiting for the Christ who will come in glory and echoing in our everyday acts the Christ who came in humility, we are to be neither idle nor coercive but always engaged.” (Flourishing, p.12)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said this before he was killed in a Nazi concentration camp: “It will be the task of our generation, not to ‘seek great things,’ but to save and preserve our souls out of the chaos, and to realize that it is the only thing we can carry as a ‘prize’ from the burning building”[1]

Woo boy. Sounds like a timely word for us today too!

Thinking a lot about things is not the same thing as DOING something that fits our inspired way of seeing in response to the fretful issues we are relentlessly, obsessively and unproductively ruminating over.

Strong feelings, absent carefully considered action in response to our strong feelings is stressing our adrenal glands, but I’m not sure it’s actually helping grab stuff out of the burning building and getting it to safety.

When we react by DOING stuff that is counter to our inspired way of seeing – how are we any different from the events, people, and principles that we are reacting to? Can we bash another without being in cahoots with them in living a distinctly NOT abundant life?

Yesterday I was headed out of my favorite coffee shop burdened with two slices of peanut butter pie (best in Richmond found at Adbibo Coffee FYI), two cups of coffee, my cell phone, my key chain of a thousand keys and tags, and a bit of a cranky spirit.   A very small and elderly sprite of a woman, no bigger than an under-sized 12 year old, noticed my predicament. She looked at my hands and glanced into my eyes, slowly pirouetted around and laboriously headed back from the very door she had just entered. She used her shoulder, hands and hip to muscle the door open, stepped outside and leaned against it with all her might to make a straight path for me. She asked me which car was mine and cackled with delight at my mini, saying that’s the exact size car she needed. She helped me hold my supplies while I hit the unlock button. She opened the side door, she helped me safely stow the pie and coffees. We chatted for a bit, and then she turned and moved back toward her original destination.

This is the kind of engagement every single one of us can practice. Go! Practice!! Be abundant! Assume you have extra energy, can walk an extra mile, are stronger than you look…. And if someone practices on you (like a yummy cupcake I received last night!), notice how fulfilling, abundant, and good it is to fully engage with others.


The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest. John 10:10 CEB



[1][1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison, rev. ed., ed. Eberhard Bethage, trans. Reginald Fuller et al. (New York: Touchstone, 1997), p. 297 as sited in Volf’s book Flourishing, (Introduction, #24)


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