Posted By Denise Miller Holmes on Tuesday
Savvy Article #1104
Here are the last three Pathways from the book Sacred Pathways, by Gary Thomas:
7) Care Giving—Caregivers best worship God by caring for others. Some might call this the gift of helps. A Caregiver feels God’s Presence as he volunteers at a hospital, or counsels, or de-weeds an invalid’s yard.
My observation is that not every Caregiver gives care in the same way. For instance, with my Masters in Counseling, I delight in listening to others’ emotions. However, ask me to clean and I’m OUTA HERE. My husband, on the other hand, is often outside helping our neighbors cut down trees, paint, whatever is needed.Not all care giving is the same, but in whatever form it comes, the helper receives a great sense of pleasure and closeness to God when he gives of himself.
According to Thomas, when we demonstrate God’s care with joy, we are a profound witness for Him. It is the change in our normally selfish nature that witnesses God’s love and power.
Of all the Pathways, this is one that is required of all Christians to some extent. Even though not everyone experiences care giving as his main Pathway, compassion is one of the hallmarks of Christianity. Thus, every Christian is to experience this change of heart concerning helping others.
Thomas reminds us of these Scriptures:
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Philippians 2:4
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James 1:27
Although we are all called to show love to others, for the Caregiver, there is a special connection to God formed while he is helping.
You may get confused when you compare care giving and Activism. The difference is this: Activists work to solve the bigger problem, often a social one, while Caregivers work to aid and comfort the individual until the bigger problem is solved.
8). Enthusiasm— Enthusiasts love God through mystery and celebration, which means they connect through the supernatural.
Enthusiasts need the expectancy that God is going to perform a supernatural surprise. This expectancy of the miraculous keeps them excited about their faith.
In contrast to the Enthusiast, the Intellectual shuns experience. I once had a friend who hated Christian testimonies because they are based on experience. The Bible, he said, was the only sure way to know God.
An Enthusiast, however, would say, what good is knowing the Bible if it doesn’t lead to a real experience of God, his workings, and his miracles?
Mystery is one experience that people with this temperament crave. When a miracle happens, something completely unexplainable, the Enthusiast’s connection to God ignites!
And their worship is celebration! A commenter on Part II of this series, D. B., said that she dances as worship. This is a prime example of someone who is an Enthusiast.
My own opinion is that Pentecostals and Charismatics are Enthusiasts. Their belief in miracles for today, their expectancy for the supernatural to appear in the Christian’s life, and their loud and cheerful worship are examples of mystery and celebratory thinking at work.
9) Contemplation— Contemplatives interact with God via adoration. They view their relationship with God like a man views his relationship with a woman—with complete devotion, tender love and passion.
In essence, Contemplatives have a strong desire to be with God. That’s where it starts, says Thomas—with desire.
Yet, none of us can flip a switch his heart and declare that he suddenly desires to be intimate with God. Thomas makes it clear that it is the Holy Spirit that gives us this craving for intimacy.
Each of us, however, can decide to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and get rid of anything that quenches this need to know God more. This is something the Contemplative does easily.
According to Thomas Aquinas, the more we take part in the world, the more contemplation is denied us. Being a Contemplative takes at least a little time to sit with God daily and worship.
Contemplatives are the Marys of this world, and for them, it is easy to set aside distractions and sit at Jesus’ feet. This is not an action as much as it is just sitting and soaking in Christ’s Presence. His Presence is enough.
Conclusion—You and I lean toward one or a combination of several of these Pathways. Through reading this book, I learned to allow others their differences, and to celebrate the way God made me. As you explore your God-given temperament, there is no doubt you will find yourself becoming closer and closer to the One who made you.