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day 5 | matthew 13-14

I used to work for a fitness studio and one thing we hated doing was making Groupons. More often than not, people would take advantage of the deal, but would rarely commit longterm. Whenever we offered one, the studio would be bustling for the next couple months and then steadily die off. If it weren't for those few people that stuck around after giving us a shot, we would've deemed it pointless.

Thousands of people come from all over to be healed and fed by Jesus and his disciples. His compassion moves him to meet their needs, and he shares with them parables about the kingdom of heaven. I can imagine their eyes glazing over when he compares the kingdom of heaven to yeast. "Mm, yeast. C'mon, Jesus. Pass the rolls."

The disciples ask Jesus why he speaks in parables instead of just being straight forward. In a roundabout way, he explains that some people will know the meanings, and some people won't. The disciples also like to ask Jesus what the parables mean, and Jesus never hesitates to elaborate. So, I'm curious...

Are parables like coupons?

Is the kingdom of heaven like a Groupon?

Excerpts from Hagakure, Chapter 1

On SEBASTIAN MARSHALL

I started reading "Hagakure," which was written by the samurai Yamamoto Tsunetomo from 1709 to 1716. I don't agree with everything in the book - some of the things Yamamoto-sama says sound crazy to my modern sensibilities, but there's some powerful quotes in here about bushido. Here's some I liked, with some thoughts of my own -

We all want to live. And in large part we make our logic according to what we like. But not having attained our aim and continuing to live is cowardice. This is a thin dangerous line. To die without gaming one's aim is a dog's death and fanaticism. But there is no shame in this. This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai. If by setting one's heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he pains freedom in the Way. His whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling.

The first book of philosophy on bushido I read was the Budoshoshinshu. It had a significant impact on my thinking. One of the largest tenets of bushido is keeping awareness of your death in mind when you live. I try to do this, because it gives you a sense of urgency and importance.

A lot of times the principle is misunderstood - the principle is actually make preparations as if you'll live forever, but live this day that you'd be proud if it was your last. Bushido is not about being reckless. It's about keeping awareness of the end with you, and in doing so, living much more.

It's almost paradoxical - the man who is aware of his death, who relinquishes his claim on life, he lives much more fully. The man who is ignorant of his death does not live as much. Death is not something to be afraid of - it's something to be aware of. Being aware of it makes you more alive, and more effective, and more purposeful.

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