When I was accepted into another book launch team a few weeks ago, I had no idea the impact the book would leave on my life. Reading Ken Shigematsu’s “Survival Guide for the Soul” gave practical and relatable ways to nurture the soul in a society that is bent on achieving greatness. Ken debunks the current definition of “greatness” and reveals how Christians must truly live as God created them to be. Here are some main points from the book.
Importance of Meditation
Ken points out that when we practice quietness and reflection in our lives, we can truly listen to God. When our lives and busy and chaotic, it’s easy to put God on the “back burner.” If we don’t take the time to spend in the quiet and listen for Him, it’s hard to know Him at all.
Taking A Sabbath Rest
The author makes an excellent point in his chapter on a Sabbath rest. While there are many current theories on what a Sabbath rest actually is, the Bible is clear that God created an entire day for it (Genesis 2:2). God created the Sabbath for us. It is a beautiful gift that we did nothing to attain.
Something I took away from this section was that by taking a Sabbath rest, I am able to work from a place of rest during the week because I took the time to enjoy the rest. In other words, if I don’t ever rest as God intended, how can I give my best work to honor Him when I’m too tired to work?
Ken’s main point in this chapter is that “less is more.” A question that has plagued man for centuries is ,”Will I be happy with more?” Through a series of personal experiences and much Scripture, Ken tells us that the only “more” we will truly be happy with is Jesus. Living in “simple abundance (as he puts it) can give us the freedom to draw closer to Christ and His will for our lives.
How often do we practice the freedom of simplicity in life? We often chase after a different job, the newest appliance, “better house,” and the list goes on. We think these things will buy us happiness but they do not provide True Joy. Our only true joy comes from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In Matthew 20:26, Jesus talks about the importance of being a servant. In this book, Ken uses Christ has the primary example of servanthood. If the Lord of Heaven and Earth could stoop to our lowliness and model the importance of servanthood, it must be essential to the Gospel.
I love how Ken uses Christ as a clear example of how to be a servant. He also talks about living a “cross-shaped” life and what that looks like. Practicing servanthood is not always easy. In fact, it’s very humbling and mostly sacrificial. When we practice serving others, we are demonstrating an act that reflects the character of Christ and brings the Gospel into view.
What Is Greatness?
This last chapter of Ken’s book talks about redefining the word “greatness.” The cultural normal of greatness is synonymous with being famous or having X, Y, and Z (usually like someone famous). People think that if they are famous or receive enough money and recognition they’ve reached greatness. This is the opposite of what Scripture teaches.
In order to work toward greatness, we must renew our minds and souls toward a better definition of true greatness. To work toward greatness is to work toward the Kingdom of Christ. In doing so, we are able to live abundantly and flourish spiritually in a world where we’re pressured for something else.
This book gives many personal experiences and practical ways to begin cultivating spiritual habits that will bring true joy.
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