Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Clefts of the Rock - Responsibility" from L.L. Barkat

from Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places

L.L. reminisces about her days spent with her grandmother whose abode was stocked with all kinds of good things from her fields. What was enjoyed in cherry (my favorite) pies along with other good things came from hard work and sacrifice. Her privileged outlay resulted in a responsible, sacrificial effort which benefited others.

L.L. points out how each of us has a privilege like a king, be it ever so small. We can either be responsible in it, or not: "the hardworking shepherd...or...the bedbound royal." (p 89) We can follow the "Sabbath-Jesus" (p 93), so that out of our disciplined by faith emptiness and want can come God's blessing and plenty.

We need to remember that there are indeed, consequences for being irresponsible. If we choose to be lax we can lose out eternally, as well as in this life. But if we take seriously our responsibility that comes with privilege, and sacrificially empty ourselves, we can bless others, and ourselves be blessed both now and eternally.

This is a most interesting chapter to me, I don't say better than the others, because this is an unusual book, but L.L. approaches this subject in a way I've never seen before. Like the entire book, it is best read slowly, and especially so for me with this chapter. The chapters, by the way, are not long. Not a hard read, in fact you'll want to keep reading. But does engage my thinking and challenges my life.

Too often I can think such and such is coming to me, or that I need this or that. In other words I can take things for granted or live with a sense of entitlement. Not like Jesus. Also I can easily fail to see many times that with each privilege of life, there comes responsibility. This is true in all things, and particularly in relationships, starting at home.

One example is how easily I can forget that a good relationship is not just what I should have with God and others, but to have and maintain that, it must be cultivated. I can't just expect to have a good relationship with my wife, without in love working at that with her. Listening to her. Not taking offense at a perceived (and often misunderstood) slight. Listening attentively to some things which may not interest me. Spending time together and perhaps doing what she enjoys doing, when I'd rather be reading or doing something else.

Do we persevere in God's way, empty at times and in a sense, all the time, that we might know God's fullness, blessing and provision? Or do we think it's all about us and insist on having what we want and having that now, thinking it's our right and privilege- without accepting the responsibility that comes with it?

Great "discussion questions" for this chapter in the back of the book and an excellent chapter for me to ponder. I tried to be more sparse in hopes that it will stimulate you to read. You'll have some interesting surprises as you read this chapter. And true of the entire book. It really does speak to me of "finding grace in hard and hidden places." Right where I, and I think we all live.

1. Stepping Stones - conversion
2. Christmas Coal - shame
3. Tossed Treasures - messiness
4. Heron Road - suffering
5. Sword in the Stone - resistance
6. Howe's Cave - baptism
7. Palisade Cliffs - doubt
8. Holding Pfaltzgraff - inclusion
9. Indiana Jones - fear
10. Old Stone Church - love
11. Goldworthy's Wall - sacrifice

Next week: Olive Press - gratitude


Martin Stickland said...

Okay, I will not send the horse burgers to you!

You know I only joke!


Mike said...

I appreciate the "marriage" between privilege and responsibility. I have now added the Barkat book to my wish list.

I also whole heartedly agree with the cherry pie being a "good thing."

Laure said...

hello ted ... i know you really don't know me and this may seem somewhat out of the ordinary, but i've been visiting here for a spell and i've really come to enjoy my time here. i've passed along an award to you and would be honored if you'd accept it.


L.L. Barkat said...

Enjoyed your summary of this chapter and the reliving of words I penned long ago. Oh! Sometimes my own words speak to me strongly, as if they had come from someone else. (Maybe they did, maybe they did. The Great Someone. :)

Ted M. Gossard said...

It's for your good health that you're joking in this case, as Deb, my wife, is an ardent horse lover.

Actually, beautiful pic, and I hope everyone who reads this goes to your blog and sees the mare and her foal, along with the rigged (just joking) fascinating video of Christian the lion, and his human friends/parents. Amazing and great stuff.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, cherry pie. Right on!

Yes, this is an unusual book, and I hope L.L. keeps right on writing. And the theme in this chapter was good for me to read now. L.L. says it in ways that hit home.

(I can smell that cherry pie right now!)

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks for visiting, and I'm glad you've found some good in doing so.

And I'd be most honored to receive your reward. Thanks, much!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks for stopping in here with your comment. And thanks for the kind words. I think that kind of thing has happened to me before, on a much smaller scale and sometime back. But yes, this chapter hit me where I needed it, and I'm sure it was a gift from God through you.