The 90 Day DYWTGW? Challenge Day 90

March 31, 20142 Comments

Day 90! Congratulations! I hope the 90 Day Challenge has blessed your life in some ways. We have covered a lot in a relatively short period of time. I hope some of the ideas will stick with you. Since we have spent the last month talking a little about early church history and how the monks helped to shape some of the spiritual disciplines of the church, I am going to share with you my favorite monk joke and then my favorite monk story as we finish up the challenge today. Let’s get to the joke first.

A man is driving down the road and breaks down near a monastery. He goes to the monastery, knocks on the door, and says, “My car broke down. Do you think I could stay the night?” The monks graciously accept him, feed him dinner, and even fix his car. As the man falls asleep that night, he hears a strange sound. The next morning, he asks the monks what the sound was. “We can’t tell you. You’re not a monk” they respond.

The man is disappointed but thanks them anyway and continues on his trip. Several years later the same man breaks down in front of the same monastery. The monks again accept him, feed him, and even fix his car. That night, he hears the same strange noise that he had heard years earlier. The next morning he again asks what it is, and again the monks reply, “We can’t tell you. You’re not a monk.”

The man says, “All right, all right. I’m dying to know. If the only way I can find out the source of that sound is to become a monk, tell me how do I become a monk?” “You must travel the earth and tell us how many blades of grass there are and the exact number of sand pebbles. When you find these numbers, you will become a monk,” they reply.

The man sets about his task. Many years later he returns and knocks on the door of the monastery. “I have traveled the earth and have found what you asked for. There are 145,236,284,232 blades of grass and 231,281,219,999,129,382 sand pebbles on the earth.”

“Congratulations!” the monks reply. “You are now a monk. We will now show you the way to the sound.” The monks proceed to lead the man to a wooden door, where the head monk says, “The sound is behind that door.” The man reaches for the knob, but cannot open it because the door is locked. “Really funny,” he says, “May I have the key please?” The monks give him the key and he opens the door. Behind the wooden door is another door made of stone. The monks give him the key to this door too, and he opens it-only to find a door made of ruby. He asks for, and receives another key from the monks. But behind that door is another door, this one made of sapphire. On and on this went until the man had gone through doors of emerald, silver, topaz, and amethyst. Finally the man is relieved to hear the monks say, “This is the last key to the last door.” He unlocks the door, turns the knob, and behind that door he is amazed to find the source of that strange sound.

But I can’t tell you what it is because you’re not a monk.

Now for my favorite monk story:

“There was a famous monastery that had fallen on hard times. Formerly its buildings were filled with young monks and the sound of chants and singing, but now it was deserted. People no longer came there to be nourished by prayer, worship or community. Only a handful of old monks shuffled through the cloisters and they praised God with heavy hearts. Near the monastery was a wood and in the wood a rabbi had built a hut. One day the abbot of the monastery decided to visit the rabbi and open his heart to him. So, soon after morning prayer, the abbot set out towards the woods and the rabbi’s hut. As the hut came into view the abbot saw the rabbi standing in the doorway with arms outstretched in welcome. The two men embraced each other like long-lost brothers. The rabbi invited the abbot into his hut. The rabbi said, ‘You and your brothers are serving God with heavy hearts and you have come to me for wisdom and advice. I will give you the advice you require on one condition. When I tell you what it is I have to say you must promise me to repeat it only once. After that no one must say it aloud again.’ The abbot agreed and the rabbi looked at him and said, ‘The Messiah is among you’. The abbot left pondering the words he had heard. The next morning, the abbot called his monks together in the main room. He told them he had been to visit the rabbi in the woods to receive wisdom from him on their situation. He explained to the other monks the condition the rabbi had put on the teaching. The abbot paused with the eyes of the other monks on him wondering what he might say. Eventually the abbot told them that the rabbi had said that the Messiah was among them. The monks were startled by this teaching. ‘What could it mean?’ they asked each other. ‘Who could it be?’ they asked. Could it be Brother John or Father Matthew or Brother Thomas? Could it be that I am the Messiah? They were all deeply puzzled by the rabbi’s teaching. But no one ever mentioned it again. As time went by, the monks began to treat one another with a very special reverence. There was a gentle, wholehearted and generous spirit among them now which was very hard to describe but very easy to notice. They lived with one another as people who had finally found something. But they prayed and lived and read the Scriptures together as though they were looking for something. Occasionally visitors found themselves deeply moved by the life of these monks. Before long, people were coming from far and wide to be nourished by the prayer life and community of the monks, and were asking to become a part of their life together in the community.” (Original author unknown)

To, me that is a description of being (p)salty. Being a seasoning to the world. As followers of Jesus, we are called the “salt of the earth” because our lives are to enhance and give meaning to life. Before we knew Jesus, we were like grains of sand, too numerous to count, but now in Christ, we are transformed from the blandness of sand to the tastiness of salt.

It is an interesting analogy, I think, that Jesus would compare His followers to salt. Salt is used for flavoring and for preservation, it is needed by people to survive. It regulates the water content in our bodies. As His followers, as the salt of the earth, we are needed to bring hope and balance to a dying world. To help them see and receive the living water of Jesus. We are on a mission to be the salt of the earth.

Pray well, eat well, move well, rest well and live well!

Psalt Daily

Psalt Daily!

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  1. Joanne says:

    Dear Pastor Steve,

    I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for the wonderful example you are to others and the inspirational faithfulness you have shown with your daily posts during this 90-day challenge. I am genuinely going to miss seeing these posts every day. May God bless you richly for the beautiful ways you are touching others’ lives with His love.

    • stephenlawes says:

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words! I will still be posting fairly regularly so stay tuned!


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