A key competency for disciples - relying on Kingom resources


In the feeding of the 5000, Jesus challenges the disciples to give the crowd something to eat.  Now giving people things to eat is a normal, everyday activity that most of us can accomplish (with varying degrees of culinary expertise).  In this instance, Jesus was trying th help the disciples learn that when they are seeking the Kingdom of God first,  in the midst of ordinary activities, they could rely on Kingdom resources to bring outcomes incomensurate with the human input.

Here is a great quote from a book about Dallas Willard:

I'd left my office frustrated beyond belief from trying to transition from my beloved Compuserve account to Microsoft Outlook.  No matter how I configured Outlook, it didn't work.  I was in tears.  I packed up my recording gear and headed to Casa Willard (Becky Heatley's name for Dallas and Jane's house).  My editor had instructed me to specifically ask this question: What does it mean to be "ravished" by the kingdom of God?  When I asked, Dallas spoke of the availability of the kingdom of God right here and now.

Then he paused and drew a picture for me with words:  "Let's say I'm a plumber going to clean out someone's sewer.  You stay attentive to what you're doing at the moment.  You ask, How will I do this as Jesus would do this?" (I knew he did his family's plumbing so I could picture him clothed as a plumber.)  Another pause.

"If you encounter difficulties with people you're serving, or with the pipe or machinery, you never fight that battle alone." (Now I could see myself in my front yard looking at a hole in the ground with a broken mainline water pipe, almost in tears.)  "You invoke the presence of God," Dallas said.  "You expect to see something happen that is not a result of you!" Another pause.

"If you train yourself to thank God when these 'coincidences' happen, you'll see them as patterns in your life.  The crucial thing is to be attentive to God's hand, not to get locked into thinking: It's me and this pipe!  Never do that." Another pause.

Then he gave me one of his intense looks and said, "It's never just you and the pipe, Jan."  I repeated back, "It's never just me and the pipe."  In my mind I continued, It's never just me and Outlook.

From Eternal Living: Reflections on Dallas Willard's teaching on Faith and Formation (edited by Gary W. Moon)


David Wanstall, 24/02/2015