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