The Contemplative Life
Matthew 22:37 ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
This morning I read about Abba Gregory, one of the early church leaders. He is “one of the truest examples of someone who lived a life of solitude in the midst of people, responsibility and position. He served as Pope for the last 15 years of his life, but always lamented his position and would have gladly renounced it to return to the life of solitude where he fell so madly in love with Jesus.” Abba Gregory separated the spiritual walk into two categories: the “active life” serving others, and the “contemplative life” focused on intimacy with God. He believed that both were good, but that the ultimate foundation was the contemplative. This is why Jesus tells the busybody “gotta hustle and prepare the food for everyone” Martha… that Mary, who simply sits at the feet of Jesus, has chosen “the better way.” Elaine and I plan to give the overwhelming majority of our money away, so work squarely aligns with serving others. But I have found that in seasons where I lack an intimate encounter with God, my serving others through work and ministry burns me out. On the other hand, when I create space for Him, encounter Him, love Him and experience His love, I find great success in serving others (which includes better results at work). Lord, thank you for affirming the foundation of my faith. If I love you with everything I’ve got, loving others comes naturally as an outflow. I pray for greater intimacy with you with each passing day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.