Of Greater Importance

Okay, I think this “Quarantine Quest” has run its course. With the state opening up and our schedules filling, I want to wrap up our look at key spiritual practices today and return to engaging with our Bible reading next week.

 

We began our Quarantine Quest by looking at simple spiritual practices we could embrace during our time at home. Here is a quick summary listed by article title so you can find it if you’d like:

  • Reading for Formation. Here we talked about the importance of letting the Word of God get through to you rather than just having you get through the Word of God. One proven way to do this is by practicing Lectio Divina. This is a prayerful reading that forms us more than informs us. It is a way of reading that helps us listen more intently to God’s Word.
  • Listening Through Your Life. This was an introduction to the prayer of Examen, a practice of listening to the Lord speak to you through your daily experiences.
  • Praying Scripture. Listening to God through His Word and through your life leads one to respond in prayer. Since you are all Bible readers, this article focused on how we can use Scripture as a source for expressing our own heart to God.
  • Learning to Love was an article on why the “most important commandment” is the most important. What does it look like when we love God with all we are and have?
  • Practicing Silence, Parts 1 and 2. In order to hear God’s “still, small voice,” we need to nurture silence in our tongue, environment and inner world.
  • Keep it Simple was the last article. With so many things vying for our attention and commitment, this article encouraged us to intentionally reorder life so that we might be freed to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness.


There is so much more I could have said. Waiting to be written were articles on the powerhouse practices of fasting and prayer, the necessity of developing a guiding “Rule of Life” and a helpful 12 question spiritual audit, but these can wait for another time.


If you are interested in learning more about these and other spiritual practices, I recommend two books. First, Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life, by Marjorie Thompson. This is a helpful overview on nurturing intimacy with Jesus. Second, if you are looking for more detail then I’d recommend Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices that Transform Us, by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun. This is a deep-dive into many disciplines that have been practiced by God’s people with a guide to help you create a rhythm of practices that fit your own life. 


I want to close out this Quarantine Quest with a question. When it comes to your life, what is of greater importance? In Matthew 6:25 Jesus asked this profound question: “Is not life more important than food?”


Have you ever stopped to ponder these words of Jesus? I remember when they first grabbed my attention as a young Christian. At that time, I equated food with life and life with food. If you don’t have food, you don’t have life. And yet Jesus seems to be saying something different here. There is something about life that transcends food and, dare we say, even has its source and sustenance beyond food.


In Deuteronomy 8:3, Moses taught that God caused the people to physically hunger so that they might learn that they don’t live on bread alone but rather on every word that comes out of the mouth of the LORD.


Since the 1920’s, our American culture has been telling us that we live by the materials and images that others produce for us. It has been telling us that we live by bread alone. I hope that our time stuck at home and these articles on key spiritual practices have helped us see that there is more to life than what this world has to offer.


May God bless us with the wisdom to see that life is indeed more important than food or tech or image or whatever it is that we tend to rely on more than the Lord. And may He give us the ability to order our lives and practices in such a way that we are enabled to keep this truth in focus.


Next week we will start wrapping up the Old Testament and transitioning to the New. See you then.


Rob