Chapter Two: More or Less?
“We are all capable of fighting for what has little value while forgetting things of transcendent value...It is so hard for us to make the truly important things functionally important to us…When I opt for a me-centered ‘more,’ what I actually get is always much, much less” (pp. 26-28).
- The tendency “to talk about more, but to settle for less” is common to all humans.
- We have inherited this less-is-more attraction from Adam and Eve, who were looking for more (“you will be like God”) when they settled for less (“she took of its fruit and ate…and he ate”).
- Our enemy has continued to use this less-is-more tactic throughout biblical history…even tried it on Jesus.
- Our only hope is the good news that God in Christ has come to redeem us from our obsession with smaller kingdoms and to recreate us into people who “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).
SOME FAVORITE (and convicting!) QUOTES:
“A man will forget that, as a father, he has been welcomed to the transcendent glory of being part of God’s work of forming human souls. Instead he will buy into the replacement glory of career success. More and more, his life will be eaten up and defined by his work. Less and less will his sense of purpose have to do with the formative community that only he can offer his children. Sadly, his children cease to be one of the joyful focuses of his living and become an obligation in an already-too-busy schedule. Less and less do his children know him, respect him, trust him, or feel his love” (page 29).
“The struggle I am describing very often takes place inside the borders of good theology and regular participation in the scheduled programs of the church. It is possible, and maybe even quite regular, to participate in these things and still be settling, in the little moments of my daily existence, for much, much less than the transcendence for which you were created. Things as mundane as wardrobe, menu, schedule, workload, location, traffic, weather, being right, getting affirmed, money, housing, employment, gardens, family rooms, sex, leisure, who’s in the bathroom first, who did what with my newspaper, who ate the last of the cereal, etc.–all of all which are important in some way–rise to a spiritually dangerous level of importance in the heat of the moment. These are the moments we live in every day. The normal day is a 24-hour collection of little moments. Day after day, week after week, and year after year, these little moments set the character of a person’s life.
When little things become the big thing for which I consistently fight, I have forsaken transcendence for the temporary shadow glories of creation” (pp. 30-31).