Today is not a normal day. Dallas A. Willard, the most brilliant yet most humble man I've ever known, died today.
|A photo of Dallas I snapped last June|
You've probably heard of Dallas. If you've spent any time around me, you've heard about him. You've heard his words quoted. Perhaps you know him as the author of The Divine Conspiracy, The Spirit of the Disciplines, Hearing God, or Renovation of the Heart. Heck, if you've been around me for long, I've probably given you a copy of one of his books.
One thing's for sure: if you know anything about Dallas, you know that he didn't just live his life for God. He lived his life with God.
And he's still living it.
Dallas has no more need of his human body. It was the battery-pack that powered his spirit. He liked to say that we are all "unceasing spiritual beings in God's great universe." And though his body has ceased to function, Dallas surely lives.
Lots of people have said, "He's with Jesus now." And that's true; he's with the Lord face-to-face now. But Dallas has been with Jesus for a long time now. He understood that Jesus made available to all of us the opportunity to live in the Kingdom of God--right here, right now, right on this earth. Dallas understood like few others that "those who live in reliance upon the word and person of Jesus, and know by experience the reality of his kingdom, are always better off 'dead,' from the personal point of view. Paul's language is, 'to die is gain' (Philippians 1:21). And again: 'To depart and be with Christ is very much better' than to remain here (v. 23). We remain willing, of course, to stay at our position here to serve others at God's appointment. But we live in the knowledge that, as Paul elsewhere said, 'Jesus the Anointed has abolished death and has, through the gospel, made life and immortality obvious' (2 Timothy 1:10)" (The Divine Conspiracy, p. 394).
As I was thinking today about Dallas's life and work, I was embarrassed for a moment that I blog about such little things as homemaking and cooking and decorating. I found myself wishing that I devoted all my space at Imparting Grace to weightier matters.
But then I heard Dallas's gentle voice, reminding me that Jesus offers me the opportunity to live in the Kingdom of God. I alone have the opportunity to bring my own little kingdom (or queendom, if you like)--the range of my effective will--under the authority of God's Kingdom. And that changes things.
So I devote myself to writing and speaking and deeply spiritual matters--but I also make a home for my family. I cook. I decorate. I do a million things that often seem to be inconsequential, but they all go together to make my life--a life lived in the Kingdom of God, consecrated to God, and for the glory of God.
|I won't lend you my copy of Renovation of the Heart--but you should read it.|
I seek to live my life as Jesus would live it if He were I. Not the life of someone else, but my life. A life deeply enriched by knowing Dallas Willard--and the God he serves. The One who reminds me,
"Whatever you do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Colossians 3:17).