Pressed down, shaken together, running over

– Tyler Run tree trying its best…

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken, let’s continue to express our gratitude. With this gratitude, let’s serve in a way that is pleasing to God with respect and awe…”

Hebrews 12:28
– NC writer Derek Maul

Today I am getting a little impatient for more fall color. Yes, a few trees have started to turn and yes, some leaves have fallen, but I looked back at this time in November last year and – check this out – there was a lot more going on!

I know, and I understand the idea that it is not tomorrow, nor yesterday, but this moment that is the gift it is important for me to receive. But once in a while – much like yesterday’s post on the challenges of concentration – I still manage to lose focus on life as it is, and all that is beautiful this day.

So this particular tree – not quite as brilliant as it might be – tells the ongoing story of the seasons. And a few difficult hours taking care of my elderly dad – not the ideal of sharing stories and sipping tea on the porch – is the present, irreplaceable, gift of family. And it is this day, this moment – not my dream of travel and hiking and visiting grandchildren – where I either celebrate the ongoing gift of life or I pass by the opportunity to live in the absolute fulness of a grateful heart.

Because my understanding of, and my experience of, “Pressed down, shaken together, running over” is only going to be as generous as the opening to my own heart. It is not so much that “perception is reality” as “receptivity is reality”.

What I’m talking about is being “open-spirited,” a term I coined in one of my books. The Upper Room project editor tried to reject it.

  • “Not a real word,” he said. “Perhaps you meant open-hearted? Or open-minded? Or free-spirited?”
  • “Nope,” I replied, “I meant open-spirited. As in someone whose spirit is wide open, someone who has the intentional receptivity to allow God’s spirit to move in them and to learn and to grow as a person of faith.
  • “All right then,” he said. “So it’s a thing now.”

Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back

Luke 6:38

In love, and in this moment – DEREK

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