God Gives Treasure
God gives treasure. The box that contains the universe. Its richness, its power to give life, its vast horizons, its unlimited potential.
National Treasure - treasure cave. Men in Black. Dr Who's TARDIS
7.3 Opening out the box
(Eden chocolates). Sharing the blessing. Abundant life for all. It is the "all-ness" that is difficult. And controversial. Remaining inclusive. Dealing with difference.
7.4 An Un-Ending Journey
Refresh the vision. Remember who we are. Do this in remembrance of me. Reinvest the proceeds. An unending journey.
The Way of Jesus is a journey of life-long learning in which our ways of thinking are transformed so that we think more and more like Jesus. As our minds are transformed, so our attitudes, actions, relationships and prospects are also changed. But on this road, we keep going by taking one step at a time. So what is the "next step" for me, and what is the "next step" for us as a group? What is our vision? How can we apply Jesus' strategy to this?
Incorporating and integrating the negative. And yet this is the path to transcendence. God's love, truth, power and gift are so abundant that they are enough, even for this. Always will be.
7.5 The Treasure Always Ahead of Us
The treasure is always before us in two senses.
1. It goes ahead of us. As we find it, it recedes into the mist. We cannot resolve the contradictions. We are left with the need to trust. To step forward, not always knowing where our feet will land. The process has to be continued. Repeated, because it is never finished, never quite resolved. The vision has to be endlessly renewed, re-imagined, fixed afresh by each person, each peer group, each generation, in every location. Again and again. My vision is for me, us, here, now. Unique, necessary, worthwhile. But my children cannot fulfil my vision. They have to discover a vision of their own.
The vision is always partial, always unfinished, never quite complete. Never perfect. But our part in it can be completed. Achieved. As an individual, I can find fulfilment. I do find fulfilment. Again and again. And at our final breath: it is finished! My part is achieved, completed, made the best that it can be.
It is finished! I am letting go. "It" - the journey to find and apply the treasure - is then taken up by others. I pass on the sword, the torch, the treasure-bearing chest. I let it go.
7.6 The Treasure is Always Here
2. The treasure is always before us in the sense that it is always before me on the table. Here and now. In my place, this moment, my lap, in my hands.
Cannot live off someone else's treasure. The Shire has been saved, but not for me. The teacher is wounded, or dead, or has moved on in some way. They cannot do it for you. I cannot do it for you. Sooner or later, you have to do this for yourself. Live with the consequences. If you refuse to deal with it, live with the consequences of that refusal.
A path of reading, prayer, reflection and action. Reading and praying are good, but the real challenge is to apply the teaching to yourself in the written exercises, and then to take action. Reflection helps us prepare for change, but change only happens when we take action. This is why taking action is so important - and so often difficult. Don't just imagine abundance. Claim it.
Have you taken action yet? If you take up this challenge, you will learn a lot about yourself in ways that will help you empower and equip others. If you take up this challenge, you will become more effective in whatever you do. But only if you take up the challenge to apply the lessons to yourself – and to act on them. What we read informs us. What we pray will form us. What we do transforms us.
Have you taken action yet? Means addressing such questions as: What is the "next step" of faith that is asked of us? What am I afraid will happen if I take it? How does this require me to "act as if"? How do I feel about doing this? Repeat the cycle. Take one step, and prepare for the next. An unending journey. Going The Distance is a challenge in itself. Dig deep for the long haul. Allow for the demands of this. But do not make it an excuse for not taking action.
In the long term, there are no short-cuts. Yes, we can fake it, and others may be glad to collude with us. We can talk the talk. But whatever we say, but our actions will show what we really believe. We can fool ourselves, and become very adept at fooling others. And we may be convincing, for a time. (The false preacher.) assume the status of a leader, minister or teacher, play the part and speak the lines, but in the end, those around us will not be fooled, even if they want to be. However profound the denial, their instincts will eventually tell them the truth. It may take a couple of decades, a generation, even half a century for the truth to come out, but one day it will emerge into the light of day. And how much damage will it have caused in the meantime?
The quality of our believing is revealed by the quality of the work we do, just as fruit reveals the health of a tree.
Ultimately we will practise, preach, teach and convey what we have internalised. We have internalised fear as well as faith. Which do we live from? If we want to live from faith, then that means learning how to recognise our fear and convert more of it into trust. This requires us to learn - to internalise - a new way of thinking, and it takes time, reflection, repetition and practice.
Repetition reinforces what we are learning. Acting on it commits us to the new path. It makes the lesson specific, concrete and personal. When we speak and act in response to what we are learning, the lesson begins to change us. As we are changed, we begin to change others. We become part of a process of transformation.
7.7 Companions on the Road
Sharing with others - Jesus and disciples - disciples and others - involving others in our dreams - in our creativity - in our projects - forgotten how to do this - forgotten that doing this is part of the abundance we are seeking - the traveller's companions - the hero's friends - LotR, King Arthur - ensemble. A good team.
The team make it possible.
What will be the demands of living like this? How do I live creatively here and now? What am I afraid will happen if I go on living like this? How can I realise the vision of abundant life for all - God's Kingdom. Cannot do this alone.
need the support of a few others who have also begun to internalise these lessons in order to follow through all the creative possibilities that will begin to emerge. to support you in the practicalities. Working together, staying connected, supporting one another.
As more and more people become involved, the process becomes both more creative and more complex. Following up each context, pinning down the abundance and re-envisioning it in each situation, requires a lot of people. Work enough for all. Everyone can make their creative contribution. Everyone can play a part.
(The very hungry caterpillar - David's contribution)
You will not be able to see all its ramifications, let alone control them, but that does not matter. Working together, staying connected, supporting one another, you will find it easier to keep your eye on the prize, and your feet on the road.