Thursday, May 20, 2010

Keep the main thing the main thing: Closeness with God

No principle is more essential than closeness with God. It requires us to do two things that by our metabolism are impossible. We must relax, and we must retreat.

Chuck Miller, in The Spiritual Formation of Leaders, describes two rooms that every person needs to manage—the Soul Room and the Leadership Room. He points out that “The church has tended to move type A people into leadership and the more reflective people toward prayer and spirituality. We end up forcing people to make an unnecessary choice between spirituality and leadership.” That, of course, is where the problem starts.
When we meet with God in the Soul Room, he prepares us to serve him in the Leadership Room.Telling a person to relax today is like telling a man to relax while being examined for a hernia. As for retreating, most of us cannot even guard one day for rest.

However, even during his active ministry, Jesus nurtured closeness with the Father. “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Lk 5:16). If we do not have a close life with God, our public life for God cannot bear fruit. Solitude, silence, ordinary tasks, being with people without great agendas, sleeping, eating, working, playing; that is the life that Jesus lived and the life he asks us to live.