Bible Verse: “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied ” Proverbs 13:4, ESV

Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 2:14-21

While exploring my roots, I discovered something surprising — my own ancestors were Japanese Samurai, warriors who sprang to the defense of their community when their people needed protection. Though most people are familiar with the traditional image of a Samurai as a highly disciplined warrior able to wield a sword with breathtaking dexterity and speed, I also learned that the Samurai were farmers, philosophers, poets, and artists.

They lived by a code of honor called bushido, a set of rules and practices that guided their life and enabled them to grow into people of wisdom, fortitude, loyalty, compassion, and service. They centered on one purpose: serving their Samurai lord and the community.

But much like the ancient Christian monastics, they found that living by a particular pattern of life empowered them to become wise, courageous, compassionate people who served their lord and the common good.

I found myself longing for something similar—a pattern of life that would help me live well, grow, and faithfully serve my Lord, Jesus Christ, and the larger community.

As I learned more about the Samurai code of bushido and the monastic “rule of life,” I saw that both of these ancient cultures had developed something simple, yet profound: a life patterned on proven practices that helped them cultivate their character and contribute to the world.

I’m just an ordinary guy — a businessman turned pastor who struggles with the same challenges we all face. I am a father and a husband. I am a follower of Jesus. And I understand the challenge of integrating all of these callings into a simple way of life, balancing the various demands I face with wisdom and grace. But I have found a way to live out my commitment to Christ in each of my different relationships and roles through a life-giving rhythm, what the ancient monks referred to as a rule of life.

A rule of life is simply a rhythm of practices that empowers us to live well and grow more like Jesus by helping us experience God in everything. Though the word rule may sound harsh and confining, I have found that living by a rule has paradoxically freed me to pursue the life I have always longed for — a life of deeper, transforming friendship with Jesus and fruitful contribution to the world.

— Ken Shigematsu, author of God In My Everything. Copyright ©2013 by Ken Shigematsu. Used by permission of Zondervan.

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