Posts tagged Buber

Which Will? (part three)

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We’re examining destiny. You have one. Waiting for you. As Buber says, you must pursue it with your whole being, not knowing where it waits. You have a ‘great will’ that wants to live a noble, heroic, God-honoring, and history-impacting life.

44 looking goodAnd, you have a ‘little will’ that above all desires to:

Look good. 

Feel good. 

Be right. 

Be in control.

These motivations I callThe Formidable Four”.

They show up everywhere.

They undermine a pastors’ resolve to lead clearly, consistently, and courageously. They invite congregations to focus inwardly, even while the community—where they’ve been placed as God’s provision—drifts further from Christ. They motivate elders to gesture at change rather than do the hard work of maturing disciples who bear fruit as a way of life.

In my life, the “little will” dissuades me from initiating conversations about financial support for the ministry to which I’m called. It presses me to downplay the urgency to enroll pastors in new reFocusing Networks, when my momentum begins to wane. It cautions me to play safe in coaching, rather than offend a client by illuminating a character flaw that is undercutting her leadership.  And after an unusually intense week (like last week), it tempts me to blow off writing this blog! 

Buber’s ‘great will’ and ‘little will’ wrestle within us.

Save or spend.

Walk or take the car.

Stand up for what you know is right or compromise to keep peace.

Pander to the preferences of your congregation or lead them to serve others selflessly.

Develop the character of around you or settle for being liked.

We see the conflict between great and little will played out in US politics.

44 rhetoricWhile campaigning, candidates’ towering rhetoric calls to our ‘great will’.

It extols the virtue of selflessness, challenging us to forfeit our petty comforts in the short run to establish or protect or defend something noble and honorable and necessary and good for the generations that follow. It speaks of great accomplishments and great sacrifice and uniting for the benefit of the nation.

Then, post-election, the ‘little will’ takes over.

Its priority is whatever will please the most people now. Minimize pain, discomfort, and anxiety immediately—no matter how it infantilizes the population, rips apart our social fabric, and devastates those who’ll inherit the mess.

This blog is not about politics.

It’s about you.

Which will wins?

Coaching distinctions #44.doc

Which Will? (part two)

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You have been called.

By God.

Not just to be good. And not to be religious.

To be the ‘you’ God intended. To have the impact for which Christ has given you life.

You’re destined. Which is to say, there’s a destination for you. A unique, God-honoring difference that you’re the ideal person to provide for the world.

You get to pursue it—with your whole being—not knowing exactly where it is. As you give yourself in the pursuit of it, God makes that destiny more clear and certain.

And, all along the way, God is working to refine your character.

In I and Thou Martin Buber writes that one must proceed toward that destiny: “with his whole being… He must sacrifice his little will, which is unfree and ruled by things and drives, to his great will that moves away from being determined to find destiny. The free man has only one thing: always only his resolve to proceed toward his destiny.”

See, life conspires with your ‘little will’ to determine you, to define you, to limit you, to shackle you to a meaningless life.

A meaningless life?

It’s a life driven by the capricious desires of the ‘little will’.

43 boatI want to vacation in Spain.

I want that boat.

I want botox for my face.

I want to make partner.

I want those amazing shoes.

I want to see her pay.

I want to get rid of the boat!

As you’re satisfying these whims, another half dozen arise, and you’re off in pursuit of them. What you’ll notice about the meaningless life is that you are its focus.

Your comfort.

Your ego.

Your image.

Your preferences.

All the while, those around you are hurting. Suffering. Isolated. Heartbroken. Lost.

Do you notice?

At the dawn of 1865 more than four million Americans were held captive by slavery. 43 lincolnIf the movie Lincoln is an accurate portrayal, the President—probably hundreds of times—sacrificed his ‘little will’ to achieve that for which he was destined.

His ‘little will’ no doubt longed to be free of the struggle to amend the Constitution, to mourn the death of his son, to bring relief to his disconsolate wife, and to end the awful bloodshed for which he was blamed.  When his cause faced its most strident opposition, when resisted by those in his own cabinet, when his allies waivered in their commitment, and when his body shuddered under the strain, Lincoln’s ‘little will’ would have cried out for relief.

Trusting God to provide what Lincoln could not, he and his resolve moved in pursuit of that destiny with his whole being.

You and I get to do this, too.

Coaching distinctions #43.doc

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