“One of the things that drives Americans to move is our constant quest for more . . . that calls us from distant places. . . . And the irony should not be lost on us: our constant quest for more frequently leads to less fulfillment.”- Daniel Grothe
“Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll bet the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.”- Matthew 23:11-12 (MSG)
In Chapter 6 (“Honoring Your Service: What Your Skills Can Do”) of The Power of Place, Daniel Grothe refers to Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter as the President and First Lady of Place. Because following Carter’s term, they moved back to their two-bedroom rancher in Plains, GA. Hence, Pastor Grothe names three lessons he learned from these icons of stability.
Value 1: The Lesson of Living Faithfully. Eugene Peterson understood and defined discipleship as ‘a long obedience in the same direction.’ Therefore, Daniel observes, the faithful live as fixtures. For example, since leaving the Oval Office, Jimmy’s taught more than eight hundred Sunday school classes at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains.
Value 2: The Lesson of Living Simply. When Jimmy and Rosalynn drive to the Carter Center in Atlanta, they stay for a week. And they sleep on a pullout couch in the office. As Solomon wrote in Proverbs 16:8 -“Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.”
Value 3: The Lesson of Living as a Servant. During his time as President, Carter confounded everyone when he insisted on carrying his own luggage onto Air Force One. In addition, Jimmy’s worked extensively with Habitat for Humanity. Thus, Daniel notes, “[Carter] hasn’t just lived stability in place; he has spent his life helping people find stability in place.”
In conclusion, as Frederick Buechner once wrote in Wishful Thinking (1973):
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
Today’s question: What Bible verses help you avoid our constant quest for more? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “The small and insignificant places”