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Henri Nouwen was restless, terribly busy yet for all that activity never certain that he was moving down the right path. Pére André, his mentor told him to keep a careful eye on the difference between urgent things and important things. He said, “If you allow the urgent to dominate the day, you will never do what is truly important and you will always feel dissatisfied. To be surrounded by urgent things is your character and your way of living. You moved from Harvard University in the USA to rural France to get away from a busy life, and now life here is as busy for you as Harvard ever was. The issue is not where you are, but how you live – wherever you are. For you this means a constant choosing of what is important, and being willing to leave urgent things for later or not do them at all.” I look into the mirror of Henri Nouwen and I see myself. I too am also highly experienced in turning a solitary life as a writer into a wearying whirlpool of busyness. I have a way of allowing the good to become the enemy of the best. Strangely, I am not the only one.
I know that it was important to write this for you. I will go now and deal with the urgent. Henri Nouwen would be pleased.
Pieter van Schalkwyk, Randvall, South Africa says we have started our Bible School in Buhle Township, Germiston with 13 students and other townships in Gauteng have invited us to start three more Bible Schools. Thank you for the free study materials.
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Your work may go uncelebrated, but it will not go unrewarded. God has put you exactly where He needs you. You are fulfilling His purpose every day. Once you accept that, you’ll find joy and meaning in what you’re doing, so do not let someone else’s response decide your level of happiness. They may not see you but God does. Click UCB for more.
My favourite author is Henri Nouwen, and I have most of his penetratingly honest books, which have a way of softening my heart and shaping my life. His book, ‘Gracias’, recalls how he sacrificially resigned from teaching at Yale to go and serve the poor of Bolivia and Peru. Wholly convinced, he went on a one-way ticket yet not twelve months later he wrote, “The poor of Latin America had not called me, and the Christian community back home had not sent me. My experience was not what I expected and as friends say, I can do more for the South from the North.” With that, he caught the next Pan Am flight home. I also have found myself in such unusual places that I had to wonder which brains – if any, I had employed to plan the trip. Zeal, you see, is a fine asset, a driving force with Ferrari power but like Ferrari ownership, it can consume you if you are not careful, and you need to know what you are doing. The ancient proverb puts it this way, “Zeal without knowledge is not good.”
Jim Morris, UK says six of us are going to the Crimea to do four days mission with children and put a new roof on a old building because in the Crimea if you don’t have a building you are classed as a sect. The pastor has been working on the building for 7 years and needs help to finish, so we feel excited to go. Click to see the Crimea.
Success does not come from being 100% better than the competition, but from being 1% better in 100 different ways. Writer Dale Dauten says, ‘If you want to be creative in your company, church, career or your life, it all comes down to one easy step - the extra one.”
Selah – think about it for a moment.
From the UCB Word For Today.
When people of retirement age meet together, generally everyone has a story about their cruise, the caravan, the camper or last Christmas in Cancun. That’s OK. They all worked harder than I did, for longer and did better by far. Enjoy, because at our age my friends, today has no manufacturer’s guarantee of replacement. Rest by all means but to be complacent, to call it a day, never. Complacency extinguishes the driving force that paid for the cruise in the first place, stifles creativity and is a sure recipe for dementia. Contentment is fine, gratitude is better yet best of all is continuing in the call of God to leave the world a fairer, healthier, saner place for our children and those of Africa, Asia and the Americas. Personally, I do suspect that when the ageing apostle Paul urged young Timothy to stir up the gift in him; it was only what he insisted to his own soul every single morning. After all at Paul’s age, the Aegean is as good as the Caribbean, and a deck chair on a Greek island is as comfortable as a deck chair anywhere else.