It’s my birthday tomorrow and I just bought a few books that discuss the lives of The Desert Fathers. What does that have to do with tea prices, you ask? Well, as the persecution of the early Christians began to die out, it was no longer possible to witness for Christ by martyrdom. The world still had disdain to the Gospel message, but it changed it’s tactics, persecution was replaced by assimilation. So, The Desert Fathers took flight to the desert as a way of escaping conformity to the materialistic church and world. In fact, Anthony, the “father of monks” (A.D. 251-356) was eighteen years old when he heard the words, “Go, sell what you possess and give it to the poor…come, follow me” (Matt. 19:21). For twenty years, he lived in complete solitude. It is said that in that time, he was forced to face his false, empty self.
Now, I know you and I can’t run off to the desert for a year or two. But…
The truth is that detachment is something that must be put into practice in our lives, period. The Desert Fathers renounced things in order to know what it meant to have the single eye of simplicity toward God. There are some benefits of detachment that can add amazing value and free up areas of your life!
First, Detachment frees us from the control of others. No longer can we be manipulated by people who hold our life in their hands. Stuff will not entice our imaginations, and people will not dominate our destinies. The Desert Fathers even renounced speech in order to learn compassion. We are a generation of manipulators, and silence has great frees us from the need to control others. One reason people can’t hush is because they feel so incredibly helpless. We are accustomed to relying on words to manage and control others. We evaluate people, judge people, condemn people, and nail people into the coffin of endless drama; all of it accomplished with word.
Second, when we become quiet enough to let go of people, we learn compassion for them. We get out of their grill and allow God to speak to them. Few if any of us will actually take a trip in the forms of detachment that The Desert Fathers did, but why not begin to seek God for some quietness so He can speak. Once the grace of God has broken into our lives, we are free.