It was said of Abba John the Dwarf that he withdrew and lived in the desert at Scetis with an old man of Thebes. His Abba, taking a piece of dry wood, planted it and said to him, ‘Water it every day with a bottle of water, until it bears fruit.’ Now the water was so far away that he had to leave in the evening and return the following morning. At the end of three years the wood came to life and bore fruit. Then the old man took some of the fruit and carried it to the church saying to the brethren, ‘Take and eat the fruit of obedience.’
—-Sayings of the Desert
On face value this saying seems a little farfetched. Most of us who live in the 21st century want things to be logical and reasonable. The very idea of watering a dead stick daily for three years and having to travel a huge distance every day to get the water is beyond belief. Here’s the point, -if the story is a fable, it points us to a miracle wrought by obedience. If it’s true it still reveals a miracle that is wrought by obedience. John’s mentor calls it the “fruit of obedience.”
We are all called to obedience to the tasks that we are given. Most of us fight the very idea of being obedient to anything. After all, we live in a very freedom loving world and none of us wants to give up any of that freedom -not even for God. We give up our freedom for the gift of marriage and other relationships in our lives, so why not make one of those relationships with God and His church. Just as Abba John found the great blessing that awaited at the end of his road of obedience, we will find our reward only if we are set to the task.
In what way is God calling YOU today?
Lord give me the insight to recognize the things that I am called to do. Lord give me the humility to put self aside to perform tasks that sometimes seem unimportant to me. In doing so you help me to find the greater blessing that comes in the form of the fruit of obedience. Amen
Mark in Forty Days
This year I am reading through the Gospel of Mark during the forty days of Lent. My suggested plan is that you do these readings in Lectio Divina format.
O Son of God, do a miracle for me and change my heart. Thy having taken flesh to redeem me was more difficult than to transform my wickedness. Amen
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
——-C. S. Lewis
This is always been a favorite of mind.
English: Roman Centurion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Bible shows us a very real person. He can be found in the book of Luke 23:47&48. Rome had many burly, manly men. They had been hardened by war and the type of depravity that came with it. There was a Roman centurion in charge of Jesus following his arrest. His behavior can serve as an inspiration about being real.
My assumption is that he was like all other centurions of his day. He had proven himself in battle. His loyalty to Caesar was unquestioned. The Centurion was a man to be looked up to and modeled. All these things, as good as they are, do not make you a real person. The Centurion did, however, possess some qualities that made him real and worthy of being a role model for us today.
1.The real person Listens.
The Centurion walked with Jesus as he carried his cross up to Calvary. He heard those who ridiculed him . He saw those who worshipped him. He heard it all.
2. The real person Acknowledges.
When all was said and done, the Centurion looked up at Jesus on the cross and said, “ This was truly the son of God .”
3. The real person Feels
I believe the Centurion felt the pain of Jesus as he went through torture, public humiliation, and finally a very painful death. Throughout all of this he became increasingly empathetic with Jesus.
4. The real person Takes Risks.
When the Centurion acknowledged Jesus as the Son of God, he opened himself up to criticism from all sorts of places. The Romans could say that he was not worshipping the gods of Rome. The Jews could say he was just crazy. It didn’t matter, because he was real.
Let’s all try to be as real as the Roman Centurion. I don’t know about you, but I like real people.
- Light bulb moments (irenefrances.wordpress.com)