the next big thing

I don’t know why, but this week I received an advance copy of Growing with Purpose, a series of 100 word devotionals that Zondervan will sell for $18.99.  And since the author is a friend and collaborator with Rick Warren, it will do very very well.  If you were inspired by The Purpose-Driven Life, you’re going to love the bite-sized wisdom in this book:  “It’s the ‘Wow!’ Not the How,” “consider everyone an E.I.P. (Eternally Important Person),” and my favorite, “Each of us carries a bucket that needs to be filled with love….”  I have been begging for years for someone to fill my leaky love bucket, and it’s nice to know that I’m not alone.

Given my interest in chapter 6 of The Purpose-Driven Life, I noticed the devotional entitled “Look Upon the Things Above,” which said “Let’s assume there is a long, thin line threaded across reality…this imaginary line divides what we can see from what we cannot see—the temporary from the eternal.  …With our minds set on the things above, we live in the truth that there is more to reality than the things right in front of us.  We live in the truth that people are eternal beings….”

I had assumed that only God is eternal, but thankful for the upgrade, I kept reading.  Ten pages later I read this:  “Imagine if God created you to be the Michelangelo of this age, but you stayed so busy doing all kinds of things—good things—that you never got around to painting and sculpting.  You would end up missing the best because you got distracted chasing the good.  What a disappointment it would be for God, you, and all the people who would have been blessed if you had stayed focused on your original purpose!”

Rather than call his hypothetical Michelangelo a disappointment, shouldn’t the author congratulate him for not becoming distracted by earthly things like “painting and sculpture”?  When you give your heart to Jesus but your mind to Plato, neither your Bible nor your life are going to make much sense.

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9 Comments

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  1. I didn’t realize that Joel Osteen and Rick Warren were such good friends. Thanks for the insight.

  2. Jonathan Shelley October 1, 2009 — 12:37 pm

    Mike,

    I think it’s [a bit dismissive] to say that they have given their minds to Plato. After all, warnings about missing the “best” because you are chasing after a “good” is straight out of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, so there is room for some diversity of pagan philosophical authorities. Maybe Aristotle isn’t any more biblical than Plato, but they both has their sights set on invisible, eternal things, and that has to count for something.

    And the language of “eternal” spiritual beings in a “temporary” physical world sounds an awful lot like Origen. Sure, he was eventually condemned as a heretic for that view, but he did sell a lot of books.

  3. There’s a ring to the love bucket thing, but I know you can one-up him:

    “We’re hoboes carrying holey love bindles.”

    You can HAVE that one, Dr. Wittmer!

  4. Jonathan Shelley October 1, 2009 — 3:24 pm

    Adam:

    Is that “holey” or “holy”? Either way, it made me laugh.

  5. Paul got off the path that would have lead him to a likely place on the Sanhedrin – was he a disappointment?

    Jesus didn’t live the “Wow!” while on this sod. In fact, I wonder how well known he was during those first 30 years. Was Jesus a disappointment?

    Give it a few years, and this book will be on the shelves at the dollar store – just like “The Prayer of Jabez”.

  6. That last sentence of yours is going on my FB quotes page.

  7. I’m not sure what’s worse for Christianity, the Greek philosophy or the cheesiness…

  8. “Let’s assume there is a long, thin line threaded across reality…”

    Next, let’s assume there is a short, thick line threaded across surreality.

    Thirdly, let’s assume there is a medium length, semi-thick circle encompassing imagination.

    Fourthly, let’s assume there’s a better way to start a paragraph.

  9. Matthew Westerholm is a genius.

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