Becoming Real: 40 Days with the Velveteen Rabbit
Day 32 – Thursday after Passion Sunday – 25th March2010
The sack had been left untied, and so by wriggling a bit he was able to get his head through the opening and look out. He was shivering a little, for he had always been used to sleeping in a proper bed, and by this time his coat had worn so thin and threadbare from hugging that it was no longer any protection to him.
from The Velveteen Rabbit
by Margery Williams
One of the challenges of serving others is that once you have given yourself away you may find that you are left not only alone but just a tad threadbare and without any protection. There should be a natural rhythm in our service of others. We should find ourselves in supportive situations where we can reflect on our giving and find refreshment. No one should find themselves completely empty and threadbare after ministry. There should always be a ‘fountainhead‘ of comfort and support from which we can draw strength and refreshment.
No one ‘should’ find themselves in places like this but that does not mean that it does not happen. This threadbareness, this emptiness, though leaving us unprotected, is a Christlike place to be. One of the most wonderful things Christ does on the cross is to lay aside all that he is, all his rights in being the author of life, and empties himself to enter our experience. The Letter to the Philippians puts it this way:
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.
It is perhaps in Christ’s emptiness – his complete self-giving, that he does his greatest work. Being empty and threadbare is not where any of God’s servants should find themselves. However if we do we find ourselves in that place we can take comfort by standing next to Jesus who, in His self-emptying, redeems the world.
Take, Lord, and receive
all my liberty, my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will, all that I have and possess.
Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O Lord, I return it.
All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will.
Give me Thy love and Thy grace,
for this is sufficient for me.
© Andrew Dotchin – 2018