Suffering, Time Management, and Transformation


Here we are at the Third Sunday in Lent, reading Matthew 13 – 19, in which we first encounter parables: “It is apparent that Matthew wishes ‘parables’ in verse 3 to recall to the readers this special [enigmatic speech] use of the word. Although he does not define it until verses 34-35, where a quotation of Ps. 78:2 equates ‘parables’ with ‘things hidden,’ a special meaning is implied by the disciples’ question in verse 10, ‘Why do you speak to them in parables?’ It is not Jesus’ customary use of illustrations that prompts this question but his resort to enigmatic language that both conceals and reveals.” (Hare, p. 143)

Why would Jesus speak to people in parables?

This week we read Part 2,  “Managing Your Time,” Chapter 14, “Objections” of the T+P+A Big Read 2019, The Lifelong Activist, in which Rettig challenges common objections she encounters when teaching her time management system to others: their busy-ness, her system’s regimented/robotic nature, and whether it is necessary to keep tracking time indefinitely. In reading this chapter and considering my own efforts to manage my time and schedule, I can see both sides.

As for my own opinion, I think it’s really important for those of us who want to accomplish specific goals in our lives to have some sort of time/calendar/mission tracking system. I think, though, that it might be less important what that system is and more important that it’s one you will use over time and check in with daily and weekly. Rettig herself mentions, “I would never say that this is the only time management system, or the best one. This is simply the one that works best for me and many of my students. There are other systems out there, some less regimented, some more. I urge you to try this one and see if it works for you. If it doesn’t, try one of the others. The important thing is to do some form of time management.”

C’mon over to People of the Books, our online book club in which we discuss this book and whatever else is on your mind or heart!


We continue on with our Lenten practice with Compton Heights Christian Church – reading and praying through Boundless Compassion: Creating a Way of Life by Joyce Rupp. I have adjusted the schedule of this so that those of us reading via the site will do so right up to Holy Saturday (the day before Easter), and so we will begin on Sunday with Week 3, “The River of Suffering.”

I invite you this week to “pick up the shattered pieces” of your experience of suffering and observe what you have learned. As you do so, reflect on how you continue to grow in becoming a compassionate presence because of how these sufferings have visited your life.

Joyce Rupp, Boundless Compassion: Creating a Way of Life, p. 82

Boy howdy! Suffering…we’re human; we’ve all been there in some way or another. I think it’s so important to distinguish between eventually being able to find places of growth in having suffered versus believing that God placed suffering in our lives so we could grow or learn in a specific way. What have you been able to learn through experiences of suffering in your life?


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