Friday, February 20, 2009

40 Days of cHesed—Day 34

Day 34 Thinking Like a Servant

What’s the difference between acting like a servant and thinking like a servant? Well, there could be a lot of difference—or there could be no difference at all. What do you think?

Acting like a servant can become rote—just another habit—if we don’t also start thinking like a servant. Thinking like a servant is a matter of discipline. With the proper discipline, service that has become rote becomes service that is excellent! But how do we discipline ourselves—and each other—to think in such a way that we actually become excellent servants?

Say, the word “thinking” keeps popping up. Thinking. Really acting like an excellent servant requires excellent thinking. Does that seem too obvious? That may be part of the problem. [Alan Hirsch says that we must act our way into a new way of thinking. Read his important blog post, please. I totally agree...and hesed is that way!]

M. Scott Peck, M.D., in The Road Less Traveled & Beyond, entitled the first chapter Thinking. Our reluctance to stop and think about what we believe—on any given topic, much less our purpose in life—is not just a problem. According to Dr. Peck, it is the problem.

During the past 33 days, we have been attempting to provide you with the core knowledge you need in order to think like a servant. We’ve asked you to spend a lot of time reading and thinking your way through 1 John. We’ve asked you to think every day about your intimate friendship with God. And we have been challenging you to think in different images than what may be familiar to you.

This kind of thinking is part of what it means to love God with all of your mind. Love him enough to slow down and listen carefully to his Word. Love him enough to process your thoughts with him. Love him enough to listen to the Holy Spirit. Love him enough to listen to your brothers and sisters—for as long as it takes to understand each other.

Well, that sounds like a lot of work! Exactly!

Discipline of any kind requires a lot of work. Excellent thinking requires more work than any other discipline. This is true because thinking is complex. It is a process—rarely a simple process—that leads us to some intended result. In our case, it will lead us to understanding what on earth we’re here for!

If we take shortcuts in the process, we do get somewhere. We just may not get where we wanted to go. This is what we mean when we speak of the importance of proper focus during target practice. Better the outer edge of the right target than the bull’s eye of the wrong target! Matthew 25:31-46 and Luke 13:22-30 are striking examples Jesus gave us of this problem.

Thinking on purpose takes work—the consequences of not thinking on purpose are unacceptable.

Today’s Look at 1 John

Read 1 John 4:7-21. While you’re reading, think about the depths of God’s love!

Keep Breathing!

Breathe in God’s love—exhale your fears! Take every joy or concern (for ourselves or for others) to God first, so that he can share the moment, begin to heal the suffering, or encourage steadfastness.

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