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Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.




Saturday, April 30, 2011

Don't Be Tethered to an Ass


"There is a story from the middle ages of a preaching friar who had long distances to travel. Because of this, a wealthy merchant gave him an ass on which to ride. It was with pleasure that the preacher set out on his next journey. When he arrived at the church he tethered the animal outside. But throughout the service his attention was drawn to the ass. Was it properly secured? Had he left it in a safe place? What if a thief had come along and had stolen it? This went on until the service ended, the preacher was all the time distracted. When he came out afterwards all was well, the ass was where he had left it. But he knew that a new danger had entered his life. He untied the ass, slapped its flanks and drove it off. Then he walked away in the opposite direction. He was heard to say, 'God forbid that my soul should be tethered to an ass.' He was determined not to give himself to a lesser purpose than was his aim."
                       ~ David Adam, The Eye of the Eagle p. 133







The lesson of the story is not to get distracted on the trivial things of life but to pursue the greatest treasure there is: experiencing the precious presence of our Creator and growing in our relationship with Him. In our lifetimes the Author of Creation has given us a free offer: to know Him! Isn't that amazing? I think it is! All that we have to do is reach out with seeking hearts and He will make Himself known.

Now I'm not saying I believe trivial things are necessarily bad in and of themselves. For there can be lessons learned in the ordinary and God can be found in the most simplistic and mundane of moments. That's not what I'm referring  to. If we see glimpses of His glory made manifest through creation, glory be to God! That's a beautiful thing. But it's when we don't see God in things and let the things in and of themselves get in the way of our focus on Him that leads to a falling away of affection and pursuit of the greatest treasure one can ever experience.

So that guy in the picture, he doesn't look very happy does he? But would you if, metaphorically speaking, you were tied to things which perhaps brought you temporary pleasure, satisfaction, maybe convenience, but in the end were empty and hollow, bringing you nothing but a sense of distraction and displaced energy? The ass had a purpose, taking the friar from place to place and easing the burden of his travels but it had become a stumbling block for him, consuming his attention and taking it from God.

We will never find the greatest treasure there is for our mortal minds and souls to discover, or grow in our relationship or experience with Him,  if we are too distracted to see it. When we do discover the reality and presence of God we find that it is priceless and nothing else compares. Jesus illustrates it this way:

Matthew 13:44   44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

When God is discovered in the depths of one's soul a curtain is pulled back and a light like no other is shined through the heart's corridors, once dark, now illuminated with His presence. There is no greater thing than experiencing God's love!

There's bound to be things in our life that distract us from setting our hearts on God and seeking Him first. There's always things in our lives that clamor for our attention unceasingly. If we simply ask God to reveal to us those things that are stumbling blocks to our faith and relationship with Him He will surely let them be known. If we then come to Him in repentance and earnest desire, petitioning that He help us overcome our being "stuck" in a habit or mired down in a distraction, He will help deliver us and we will undoubtedly enter into greater depths of His love and presence as we shed our attachments and illusions, drawing ever closer to the lover of our souls.

What is the "ass" you are tethered to? (you don't have to share, but might want to ask yourself) It's time for us all to walk in freedom. Let's let God help us cut the cords that bind us to the trivial and experience greater depths of the most holy and precious treasure that could ever be discovered. His great presence, His love, His light.

Any thoughts? I would love to hear them! They are always welcomed and appreciated! :)

40 comments:

  1. Brilliant way of looking inwards! The 'as's could be in the form of many things and before it pulls us down even deeper.... STOP LOOK GO!
    We are lucky to have that inner voice or spirit which guides us.... we have the tools already... so what prevents one from using it.....
    Love your post

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  2. Thank you savira, so glad you enjoyed it...good question..."what prevents one from using it"...for sure something to reflect on!

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  3. we always have our inner voice to lead us !! quote of Matthew was great jess

    by sheril
    http://www.travelnlife.com/

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  4. My theory...just a thought...the " Ass" we are tethered to is ourselves. All those things within the mundane that represent the Human Condition...fear, comfort,safety, patterns or just not knowing ourselves enough to know what Freedom means to us. Enjoyed your post..and I totally agree with YofaSavy...we already have the tools...just change your perception...if you choose to come and visit me on my blog at http://ravenmyth.blogspot.com

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  5. Thank you Sheril...glad you enjoyed the verse :) Loved having you visit here :)

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  6. Great reflections Leaann...thank you so much for sharing. I agree, the greatest stumbling block we can have towards freedom and discovering the treasure of truth is ourselves. Thanks for stopping by :)

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  7. I love the way you give this meaningful message. I am thankful every day that I feel God's presence in all things big and small.

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  8. Thank you for stopping by Carol :) I'm so glad you enjoyed the message and your relationship with God is inspiring and encouraging, thanks for sharing it :)

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  9. Jessica, you probably know from reading my blog, that I am always in search of feeling God's presence. Thanks so much for this thought-provoking post.

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  10. I do, rosa...and I love meeting others that have that same desire :)..thanks for stopping by, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. ~blessings

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  11. I was also connected to a certain kind of "ass"...God did show me a way out..it was painful,but I have emerged as a stronger person...

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  12. yr heading "don't be tethered to an Ass" is what I should post on my wall. and I am sure a few girls can relate to this as well as myself.
    great Blog. I enjoyed reading it.
    thanks

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  13. So glad that you you got through that time Alpana, and have found a new beginning with a newfound strength. I pray that you and your daughter experience a beautiful peace and sense of God's love and healing...and that you both grow together in the coming years. ~blessings

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  14. Jenny ....lol...while I was writing it I mused for a moment of how many of my fb friends who are wives would suddently relate to the title! lol Men can definitely be a tether! To be fair..anyone that claims the attention and focus from another and takes it off of God can be a tether! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your thoughts :)

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  15. God's words are a guiding factor in my life.

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  16. I have a few 'asses' or vices I could do without that is a certainty. Most is just habit and habits are hard to untether. Will give it my best, but not today.

    A

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  17. Wow, Jessica:
    All things in their time, right? Don't know if you read my entry called Locating the Stillness:
    http://www.cjpwisdomandlife.com/2011/04/locating-stillness.html

    This is basically what I was saying there. So happy that I understand this principle and always have. Don't bring yourself unneeded worries. God is there to take those away from you.

    HE is EVERYWHERE. You just have to take off your spiritual blinders and see. Ah, that might require a posting on my blog. Think I'll consider it for an upcoming entry. LoL.

    Of course I DO sometimes slip and forget. I am human after all. But the good thing is that in the past few years since my spiritual growth I'm now able to find the path I was on sooner then in the past. And that's a blessing.

    Be Happy! Be Well! Be Positive!
    Blessings to you.
    --
    Chris
    http://cjpwisdomandlife.com

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  18. My thoughts on this are how to many can be driven by possessions. Building their wealth and the toys they own. We are all attracted to a fine bit of ass, the temptation it brings, but to me i'd far rather be reading my favourite blogs.

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  19. Nava...amen :) May they be so for all of us. Thank you for stopping by :)

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  20. A...so true, habits are hard to untether! Thank you for your thoughts...I'd encourage you to start today, you never know what tomorrow will bring :) ~blessings

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  21. Christopher..thank you for stopping by and your words of insight and truth :) ~blessings

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  22. Larry...so glad you decided to stop by and read this blog! You're so right, material things can be formidable stumbling blocks. Great insights :)

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  23. Jessica- As always, a magnificent way of saying what we all need to hear and be reminded of. This piece of yours is so good, that as I am recovering from surgery and not able to be at church, my hubby and I used this as a devotional today. You have an incredible gift and I am so glad that I get to share in it; God bless!

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  24. What a great story and lesson to be learned. It is so true. "Distraction", what a powerful word. Sometimes it is so difficult to free ourselves from the distractions and focus.

    God bless!
    Nelieta

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  25. When God is discovered in the depths of one's soul a curtain is pulled back and a light like no other is shined through the heart's corridors, once dark, now illuminated with His presence. There is no greater thing than experiencing God's love!.....Beautiful

    There's always an ass or two we are tethered to and we don't realize that's the only thing keeping us away from the ultimate Love.Happy because God always helped and is helping me stay out of such things in Life.

    Really Nice Post :D

    When The Heart Speaks

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  26. Anything that distracts me from the things that matter most is an “ass.” Even praying for things, then becoming attached to the results can qualify. Holding grudges or bitterness qualifies. Any attachment, ambition, or illusion can be an ass. But the biggest ass of all is my false self and the ego, as Merton so often alluded to.

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  27. i always hold the imagery i saw in the movie 'the mission'...

    i also thought of the woman caught in adultery... the Samaritan woman in the well...the call of the apostles...the centurion whose son was healed... the woman with hemorrhage...

    in all these cases, there was an "encounter" with Jesus who continually invites us to carry HIS yolk...

    what distracts me from following Him totally and completely are my inordinate desires... awareness helps me to get over them at times... i had a very good reflection over this jessica... thank you...i'll look into the other 'asses' in my life...

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  28. Kimly..wow..I am honored and feel blessed that God used this post to inspire you and your husband to use it as a devotional. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and stopping by..I'm so glad you did! ~blessings

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  29. Nelieta...thanks for stopping by and for your thoughts. Yes, distractions can be hard to overcome...thank goodness we know the God who, through Him, we can overcome anything! ~blessings to you and yours

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  30. Abhisek...thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, I'm so glad you liked the post and that God is helping steer you from life's distractions. May he help us all! ~blessings

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  31. Debra...you hit a huge nail right on the head...ourselves..yes, they are probably the biggest stumbling blocks of all..our attachments and illusions and egos. Great point. Thanks! :)

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  32. Melissa..thank you for your thoughts and coming by ...I always enjoy hearing from you :) I'll have to check out that movie, I haven't seen it yet! ~blessings

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  33. Hi, Jessica. Thank you for this wonderful post. You gave me a lot to think about today :)

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  34. Jessica what a great post, not sure how I missed it first time round. The biblical term for those things which get between us and God are idols and I think its true we all have them. A really helpful book on this subject is 'Counterfeit Gods' by Tim Keller. Thanks Jess, M

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  35. reflecting on this again jessica... i thanked the Lord because you reposted the right blog at this moment... reconsidering the asses that keep me from flying freely to God... i wrote something on 'tra valori e desideri' (between values and desires) and sometimes my desires (for attention, love, respect, etc) overwhelm me...

    i continually look at what the Lord is offering today and hard as it may seem, contradicting totally what i want, i choose the cup He wish to bear... Today, this morning... now...

    thanks jessica :)

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  36. That imagery of holding onto an ass is what most of us do. Worrying about trivial things and being distracted from the greater picture of finding true meaning and bliss in God. Beautiful Jessica. You explain life so simply and yet so profoundly in your writing. It always leaves me thinking and wanting to improve my thoughts. xoxo

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  37. this was inspiring. your right we dont need to focus on the things of the world, we cant take it with us anyway... we should focus on our kingdom in heaven, it will be the longest place we ever lived... thanks for this post, it up lifted me

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  38. I had not heard this story of the friar and the ass. I liked how he was able to get his priorities straight and the strength to let go of the ass. By doing so it was more of a blessing instead of a potential burden (distraction).
    I have many mini distractions! Some are really important, but I'm learning how to prioritize them.
    I sure do not want to miss God because of doing what I perceive to be doing good things!

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  39. Such a simple lesson and so simply putt too!

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  40. Hi - Great post. As I go through life, and I've been quite a ways so far - I find I am traveling lighter and lighter. Sometimes it's hard to give up all the trappings of the good life, especially those that have memories. But the simple life is growing in it's appeal!

    Blessings,

    Lisa Are Wulf

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