Rule of Life

1. Store up treasures in Heaven not treasures on Earth – for where our treasure is there our hearts will be also. The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it – the world, and all who live in it. Nothing material belongs to any human – for all of creation belongs to God. So, share all things with your sisters and brothers, and claim nothing as your own. If you are to share in what is imperishable, how much more should you share in things which perish? No person can be wealthy without another being poor. Choosing selfish comfort over compassionate generosity is sin. For Jesus has spoken “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

2. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Make hospitality to stranger, beggar, enemy, and loved one the primary goal of your entire life. For it is by the grace of God’s hospitality that we may find rest in the house of the Lord. Jesus told us that when we have shown hospitality to those in need we have really done so to him. So, open your home to everyone that knocks on your door, never turn any person away from your dinner table, always give to anyone who asks of you. Go out of your way to bring company to the lonesome, comfort to those who worry, hope to the lost – and always prefer to go hungry rather than see another starve.

3. Turn the tables of money lenders. When you see injustice speak against it. Our families, our society, and our church are all in desperate need of prophets. The Lord calls to each of us just as he called to Jeremiah when he said “Go down to the palace of the king and declare, “Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the orphan, or the widow.” Make yourself responsible for the holiness of your people and not just yourself. We have turned God’s beautiful creation from a temple into a robber’s den and the burden to repent of this sin lies within each and every person.

4. Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

5. Jesus taught us that unless we change and become like little children, we will never enter the kingdom of heaven and that whoever takes the lowly position of a child is the greatest of all. In this way, the lowliness of infancy makes one more like Christ – and whoever welcomes, learns from, and cares for a child does likewise to Christ. So you should always seek to be like a child, not only in their innocence but more importantly in their lowliness. Shy away from authority, submit to the will of others, strive to never be the most powerful person in the room. For it is the meek that shall inherit the earth. It is as a child you will enter the Kingdom of Heaven – in the same fashion Christ entered our world.

6. Be all things to all people, adopt the customs of those around you. Walk and preach in freedom and humility so as to become like others for their sake. The salvation of the gospel is not found in liturgical tradition, theological frameworks, social customs, or codes of conduct. The salvation of the gospel is to see, with eyes wide open, the Truth which liberates the soul from the curse we all share and brings healing to the world. So, if you can become like a Muslim to preach this gospel, then do so. If you can become like a pagan to preach this gospel, then do so. If you can become like an atheist to preach this gospel, then do so. This is the freedom of Christ – even though you belong only to God, you make yourself a slave to everyone for the sake of the gospel – that you may share in its blessings.

7. Call no place on earth home, for you are only a traveler here. Though you may be called by the Spirit to live a settled life – you must always be ready to leave behind everything and follow where the Spirit leads. We belong to the kingdom of heaven and not to the kingdoms of this world. For if Christ is king then Caesar is not! Christ, king of kings and lord of lords, is the head over every power and authority, and having disarmed them, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. This is why Peter and the other apostles, when challenged by the authorities, boldly proclaimed “We must obey God rather than human beings!”

8. Seek the guidance of elders. For their gray hair is a crown of glory and a sign of wisdom found on the path of righteousness. They teach children to walk the path of righteousness so that when they grow old they too will not stray from it. Both the very old and the very young are close to God. So, take the time to bless every child and honour every elder. All of us begin as one and end as the other for we are dust and to dust we shall return. Be careful with time, therefore, and how you use it, for nothing is more precious than time. When your time on earth has finished you will be held accountable for every moment you let slip you by. Make every moment sacred and important, therefore, and bring the gifts of song, silence, and service to this broken world.

9. Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. When you give to the needy, do not announce it on Facebook, or in church to be honored by others. If you do, then their praise will be your only reward. Instead, when you give to someone in need, do it in secret so that only God knows what you have done – and never tell anyone. When you pray go into your room where no one can see you, close the door and pray to God, who is also unseen. When you fast, do not parade your repentance as if it makes you more holy than others. Instead, go on with life as if nothing has changed so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to God – and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.