Found a startling connection to Grow Down this morning while re-reading Henri Nouwen’s book, In The Name of Jesus. I’ve read Nouwen’s book dozens of times… even used quotes from this book frequently in my “grow down” writings and workshops… and still somehow skimmed over this quote:
“Christian leaders cannot simply be persons who have well-informed opinions about the burning issues of our time. Their leadership must be rooted in the permanent, intimate relationship with the incarnate Word, Jesus, and they need to find there the source for their words, advice, and guidance.” (Nouwen, 45)
The entire concept of Grow Down has to do with rooting our lives more and more deeply into Jesus so that we can “draw up” his resources. This process changes how we live — we quit relying on our own intelligence, our own opinions, our own reactions because we are being transformed effectively by the very personal nature of our reliant relationship with Jesus. If we fail to root into the person of Jesus, we tempt ourselves to rely upon our own fickle and flailing judgments. Nouwen carries this thought:
“Dealing with burning issues without being rooted in a deep personal relationship with God easily leads to divisiveness because, before we know it, our sense of self is caught up in our opinion about a given subject.” (Nouwen, 45)
I compare an unrooted life to a tumbleweed, caught up by the winds of culture and blown about. The life of a person rooted in Jesus, however, is like a tree, planted by stream, drawing nourishment and strength, standing tall and overflowing with abundant life in any season (e.g. Psalm 1; Ephesians 3:14-21; Colossians 2:6-7; Etc.). Nouwen portrays the rooted life in this way:
“But when we are securely rooted in personal intimacy with the source of life, it will be possible to remain flexible without being relativistic, convinced without being rigid, willing to confront without being offensive, gentle and forgiving without being soft, and true witnesses without being manipulative.” (Nouwen, 45-46)
I’m thankful for this earthen reminder today. Jesus is Who I need. Therefore, I have one responsibility, one direction, one calling, on this and every day: grow down into Jesus.