Benedict’s Rule: A Hidden Way

Before we move beyond the notion  of ordinariness, we must connect it with the commitment to hiddenness.

Taking Paul’s words in Colossians 3:3, “your life is hidden with Christ in God,” many of the early Christians sought ways to live for Christ in quiet ways that did not call attention to themselves.

Separation was one way, but it was not only a secluded location that allowed them to do this, but also a surrendered heart which put to rest the ego’s need to “be seen of men.”

We find the same sentiment today when someone says, “It doesn’t matter who does it as long as God gets the credit.”  And I’ve come to believe that when all is said and done, more will be shown to have been done for God in hiddenness than in the public displays of faith.

The spirit of Benedict’s Rule lives on, and we can read the Rule asking ourselves how we may go about doing these things for Jesus in ways and through means that don’t have to be “on display” to be important.

Much of Christianity is paradox, and one paradox is that the things which appear to be the most important really are not.  Rather, it is the “hidden things” which both express and confirm the ultimate realities of Christian living.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to Benedict’s Rule: A Hidden Way

  1. Steve: Great word! There does seem to be a tension in the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount between hiddenness and public works done for the glory of the Father. In Matthew 5:16, Jesus says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Then in Matthew 6:1, He says, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” I get the fundamental difference between doing good works to be seen by others and to the glory of the Father, but how does a Christ-follower navigate these two commands of the Master? “Light shining” even with the best of intentions can appear to be boasting? It gets as simple as making an announcement at church about the results of a Kingdom initiative. “We reached 200 neighbors in our outreach!” I’d be interested in your take. Thanks friend. Jorge

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