A Neglected Spiritual Discipline

I really like Pilgrim Heart by Darryl Tippens. If I haven’t mentioned it before, or you haven’t been able to gather that from the fact that Angi and I and some other folks wrote a Group Guide to it, let me just come right out and say it:

I really like Darryl Tippens’ Pilgrim Heart. It introduces the community aspects of the spiritual disciplines that other terrific works – like Richard Foster’s classic Celebration of Discipline only touch upon, concentrating on the vertical relationship between the individual and Creator.

Darryl’s 17-week study explores these disciplines:

  • Emptying
  • Welcoming (Hospitality)
  • Resting (a two-part study, because of our need for it and neglect of it)
  • Befriending
  • Confessing
  • Forgiving
  • Listening
  • Discerning
  • Singing
  • Creating
  • Feasting
  • Reading and Storytelling
  • Suffering
  • Seeking

I mean no criticism – in fact, look at how many of those disciplines are community-based! – but if I could add one more discipline and unbalance a perfectly wonderful 17-week, 1-quarter adult education study work …

… I would add “Giving.”

It is the back half of Thanksgiving, the spirit of which inspires this national day of rest, friendship, feasting and maybe four or five of the other disciplines bulleted above. (Including “suffering,” after that 5,000-7,000 calorie meal. But that’s a whole different kind of suffering!)

Let me just share a few scriptures without comment, and you decide if my suggestion would be a worthy addition:

Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. – Matthew 5:42

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. ~ Luke 6:38

So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. – Matthew 6:2-4

Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. ~ Luke 12:33 (but you knew I’d include this one!)

Freely you have received, freely give. ~ Matthew 10:8b

And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward. ~ Matthew 10:42

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. ~ Matthew 23:23

I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward. ~ Mark 9:41

Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him. ~ Mark 12:17

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” ~ Luke 19:8

In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. ~ Luke 14:33

To quote a blog comment I often see (and sometimes leave):

“Ouch!”

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2 thoughts on “A Neglected Spiritual Discipline

  1. I agree…it is an <>excellent<> book, I read it this past summer (along w/the guide). Keith, I can’t help but think that there’s not a chapter on giving, simply because it goes w/out saying. It’s impossible to be emptying of yourself, hospitable and friendly, forgiving, listening, seeking, etc. without being willing to give up some of self. But we can add that to the list if you insist. After all, 17 chapters is actually MORE than a balanced quarter already. Unless your years are longer than mine are? 😉I loved the community focus of the book. That’s a big thing for me, being single, on my own, away from home, etc. (Fortunately, I’m only a couple of hours away.) I will be traveling home to celebrate Thanksgiving with them this weekend. As for today, it will be a productive day, getting stuff done around the house, while spending some time in prayer and thanksgiving. And in that spirit, let me also take this opportunity to thank you, my brother, for your insight, your words of wisdom, and your willingness to share your thoughts and your heart with us here. You’ve given me a tremendous gift in doing so; such an extraordinary blessing! And I am grateful.

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