Can I Meet Healthy Needs in Healthy Ways? With Tommy Brown [Episode 285]

Meet Healthy Needs Healthy Ways Tommy Brown

GIVEAWAY ALERT: You can win the book The Ache for Meaning by this week’s podcast guest. Keep reading to find out how!

Deep within each of us is a longing for acceptance, significance, and provision. Essentially, we’re all asking the same fundamental questions, “Will I have enough? Am I enough? And do I matter?”

Well, here’s something really cool…

The answers to all three questions can be found in the temptations of Christ. And today on the 4:13, Pastor Tommy Brown will pull back the curtain on Christ’s temptations to reveal how they represent your greatest needs.

Because at the core of every person is the need to be secure, to be approved of, and to know we make a difference. But the ways we’re tempted to fill these needs are where we inevitably fail.

So today, we’re looking to Christ as our perfect example of how to bear up when we’re tempted to meet healthy needs in unhealthy ways.

As we talk about Tommy’s book, The Ache for Meaning: How the Temptations of Christ Reveal Who We Are and What We’re Seeking, he’ll give you practical mindsets and tools to help you invite God to meet all those needs instead of striving, performing, and white-knuckling your way through.

And then, be sure to listen to the very end when Tommy clarifies what the Sabbath is and why it’s important. He shares a fresh perspective here that I just know you’ll appreciate.

It’s another great conversation on the 4:13, my friend, so let’s go!

Meet Tommy

Tommy Brown is the Pastor for Spiritual and Community Formation at Generations United Church in Freeport, Florida. He has a bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Ministry and master’s degrees in Management and Divinity, and he is the author of The Seven Money Types: Discover How God Wired You to Handle Money and his latest book, The Ache for Meaning.

[Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the transcript below. Then check out the links below for more helpful resources.]

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Episode Transcript

4:13 Podcast: Can I Meet Healthy Needs in Healthy Ways? With Tommy Brown [Episode 285]

Tommy Brown: The questions for me are really the key, because it can be a little difficult for some of us to say am I trying to meet my need for security or my need for approval or my need for control? It's probably easier to say, What question is driving this? Will I have enough? Am I enough? Or, Do I matter? And when you understand that, then you can pivot and you can say, oh, thank you for this opportunity to actually turn to God and to trust Him.

Jennifer Rothschild: Deep within each of us is a longing to be noticed, filled, and transformed. And according to today's guest, Tommy Brown, that longing is met in the answer to these three fundamental questions: Will I have enough? Am I enough? And do I matter? Well, on this episode, you are about to learn that the amazing thing is that we find the answers to all three questions in the temptations of Christ. Yep. Author Tommy Brown is going to pull back the curtain on the temptations of Christ to reveal how they represent your greatest needs. And even better, he is going to give you practical mindsets and tools that invite God to meet all those needs. I'm telling you, this was a very refreshing perspective and a rich conversation, and I don't want you to miss a single minute.

So, K.C., let's get it going.

K.C. Wright: Welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and Biblical wisdom set you and I up to live the "I Can" life, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Now, welcome your host, Jennifer Rothschild.

Jennifer Rothschild: Hi, friends. Glad you're here with me and K.C. in the closet.

K.C. Wright: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: My goal is just to help you be and do more than you feel capable of as you're living the "I Can" life of Philippians 4:13. And I know for some of you this could have been a stressful week because -- you know, we always say around here that it's two friends, one topic -- and, boy, is this a good topic today, by the way -- and zero stress. But if you're listening to this close to the time it is published, you know that we've just had Valentine's Day. And for some people, this is not their favorite holiday and it could have been stress --

K.C. Wright: Single Awareness Day.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes. So just know that we love you.

K.C. Wright: True.

Jennifer Rothschild: You know, it's a sweet time for all of us just to love each other well.

K.C. Wright: Hey, Eliana's in love.

Jennifer Rothschild: Eliana's too young to be in love.

K.C. Wright: My Ellie is in love with the same man that you're in love with.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. Well, that would be my husband, Phil.

K.C. Wright: Well, she does love Dr. Phil.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. Who is she in love with, then?

K.C. Wright: Well, she had to for her school -- I have my daughter in homeschool now. But one of her first assignments was reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis.

Jennifer Rothschild: Ooh, yes. Okay, he is worthy of a mad crush. In fact, I do tell everyone -- and my husband's okay with it -- that I do have a crush on him. But Phil's okay with it because he's dead.

K.C. Wright: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, okay. You know what? That is a good place for her to be in love.

K.C. Wright: Well, here's the thing. Your love of C.S. Lewis has, of course, you know, affected my life, and so I became all things C.S. Lewis from being with you, and I've tried to influence Ellie with C.S. Lewis. But just like I wanted her to play the piano, she wanted to play the violin. She's got to do things her own way, right?

Jennifer Rothschild: Right, right, right.

K.C. Wright: Well, she has discovered C.S. Lewis on her own. She's made us watch Narnia the past two nights.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's awesome.

K.C. Wright: And then I told her, I'm like, "You know, this is one of Jennifer's favorite authors, one of her favorite" -- "Jennifer loves C.S. Lewis?" I'm like, "Where have you been the last two decades?" Where have you been, my child? I guess she hasn't been alive for two decades.

Jennifer Rothschild: No, she hasn't.

K.C. Wright: How about one decade? But anyway...

Jennifer Rothschild: And I probably haven't made her stand in front of the shrine in my office to C.S. Lewis like I have asked you to stand in front of it and gaze at every piece and let me tell you the meaning behind each.

K.C. Wright: And I'm like, "Jennifer loves C.S. Lewis. And your second cousin, he lived in C.S. Lewis's house."

Jennifer Rothschild: That's right, he did. He got to live at The Kilns.

K.C. Wright: For two week -- for two years. Two years.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, that's fantastic.

K.C. Wright: But anyway, I just thought you would enjoy knowing that --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

K.C. Wright: -- Ellie is all into C.S. Lewis and devouring the books, so --

Jennifer Rothschild: That makes me so happy.

K.C. Wright: -- there you go.

Jennifer Rothschild: And I hope that C.S. Lewis is the only man she is in love with until she is 25 years old.

K.C. Wright: In Jesus' name --

Jennifer Rothschild: That's right.

K.C. Wright: -- I agree with that.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's right.

K.C. Wright: I agree, Lord.

Jennifer Rothschild: And when you actually show up at the altar to give her away, you can also give her an iPhone then.

K.C. Wright: That's right.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, my people. Okay. Anyway, I don't really know how to transition this, so I'm not.

K.C. Wright: No. Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: But I'm just going to tell you this. I loved this conversation with Tommy Brown. I thought he has such a unique and fresh perspective on the temptations of Christ. So you're going to really see how he's going to lay this template of the temptations that Jesus experienced over all of your needs, help you to recognize that those needs are actually very healthy God-given needs that he placed within you, because he is the one who can meet those needs.

K.C. Wright: So good. Tommy Brown is the Pastor for Spiritual and Community Formation at Generations United Church in Freeport, Florida. He has a B.A. in pastoral ministry and a master's degree in divinity and management. And he's the author of "The Seven Money Types: Discover How God Wired You to Handle Money." Don't we all need that?

Jennifer Rothschild: Mm-hmm. Good stuff.

K.C. Wright: Today, however, he and Jennifer are talking about his latest book called "The Ache for Meaning." What a powerful title.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right?

K.C. Wright: So here we go. Listen in. It's going to be another great 4:13 Podcast, and there, of course, is room at the table for you.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right, Tommy, your book is titled "The Ache for Meaning." And the subtitle, which really captured me, is "How the Temptations of Christ Reveal Who We Are and What We're Seeking." Okay, super interesting. So I would love for us to start with you explaining what the temptations of Christ were -- because some people may not know -- and then how they are relevant to our lives today.

Tommy Brown: Oh, what a great place to start. Thank you for having me on today. I really appreciate that.

What were the temptations of Christ? Well, there were many temptations of Christ throughout his life. But the ones that I zero in on in the book are -- they're recorded in three of the Gospels. But I love Matthew's version of it. It's in Chapter 4. So Jesus is baptized by John at the end of Chapter 3, and then he's sent by the Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights, where he fasts and prays. And then at the end of that, the devil comes to him and offers him three temptations. You could also say tests. One way to translate that passage is -- instead of "if you are the Son of God," you could say it "since you are the son of God." So it's seductions for Jesus to prove himself in ways that would not be healthy for his soul, that would not be fruitful for his ministry, and would not be pleasing to his Father.

And so the first temptation is to turn stones to bread. The second one is to throw himself down from the temple so that the angels will come and get him. And the third one is to bow down, worship the devil in exchange for rule and power and control of all of the kingdoms in the world.

What's fascinating to me is that each of those three temptations is anchored in a Biblical back story from Israel's time of wandering in the wilderness. So each of them has -- it's kind of an echo. So when Jesus is faced with the first temptation to turn stones to bread, we remember the manna moment in the wilderness. And to throw himself down from the temple is the testing of God at Massah, and then bow down and worship. And so each of them has -- that's the golden calf incident. So each of them have backstories.

And so when Jesus hears these temptations, he realizes a lot's on the line here. In the way that Israel failed in these temptations, he has the opportunity to succeed. And not just so he can be successful, but so that he can live out what it means to be the true and anointed and called Son of God.

Now, for us, those temptations hit at the heart of what it means to be a human being. So if you learn to look at the temptations in a certain way, you can actually see any frustration, any seduction, any trial, any temptation. You can see through this lens -- anything you're going to face, you can find them represented by one of these three. And here's what I mean. I'll say this quickly and we can unpack it as you like.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tommy Brown: In the first temptation, it's -- I see it as the temptation to strive, to make something happen. And the real question that is gnawing away at us when we're tempted to strive to make something happen is, Will I have enough? As believers, as just human beings, who has never asked the question, Will I have enough? Will I have enough to do this? Enough time, enough money, enough whatever it might be.

The second temptation, throw yourself down from the temple and God will send his angels, that as I see it is the temptation to perform for approval. And what's driving that is the deeply human need to be accepted and this question of will I have enough? And, boy, I've struggled -- or am I enough rather. And I've struggled with that one seriously on my own, that need for approval.

And then the third one, bow down and worship me and I'll give you the power to control all the world's kingdoms and all of that, that is the offer of control which we all need. But it's not so much the need for control, it's how we go about getting control in our lives. We all need some control, healthy sense of control --

Jennifer Rothschild: Sure.

Tommy Brown: -- but the question that drives it is really, Do I matter? Does my life mean anything? That search for significance.

And so for me, the temptations became really an opportunity to see in my everyday life the invitation to grow, to become more like Christ, and, frankly, to let go of some bad habits and some patterns and some unhealthy things. And so I see them as being very practical, meeting everyday longings and desires that we have, and immediately useful. And I go into some mindsets and practices in the book on how to resist the temptation and to cultivate some healthy practices in our lives.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, I'm loving this because you -- I mean, did you just prove how relevant the temptations are? Yes, you did. And I love the framework that it's created. And, Tommy, it's really true at the core of those questions you ask, you know, Am I enough? Those kinds of questions.

Tommy Brown: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: There is some healthy needs represented.

Tommy Brown: That's right.

Jennifer Rothschild: So in your book, you say that we often try to meet these healthy needs, these healthy human needs, in very unhealthy ways. Okay? So clearly, Jesus was perfect and without sin. But can you give us an example of how we try to meet the healthy needs in unhealthy ways?

Tommy Brown: Like, follow me around for 15 minutes during the day and you'll see it, you know.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Tommy Brown: Yeah, I'm glad that you pointed that out. Because all of the things that, you know, the devil was offering him, there was nothing wrong with any of those things, the needs up underneath it. The question was how would Jesus go about meeting those needs? And the ways and means with which he met those needs are very important. So on the one hand, you know, if it's okay for Jesus to turn water to wine and to multiply loaves of fish, why is it not okay for him to turn stones to bread?

Jennifer Rothschild: Sure. Right.

Tommy Brown: The real issue there is the heart and the intention. On the one hand, he's doing what the Father is inviting him to do. On the other hand, you know, he's -- maybe he turns stones to bread so that he can gain lots of followers. Maybe he turns stones to bread because he's hungry. We don't get all of the information. That's part of the beauty of the story, is that the symbolic nature of these temptations, you can see a lot of your life in it.

But in my everyday life, sitting in a staff meeting, somebody comes up with an idea, that idea is better than my idea. Oh, what if they get promoted? Oh, what if they get recognition? What if they -- you know, that's that question, Am I enough? Your kid goes out on the athletic field, misses a penalty kick, strikes out at the plate. How does that make you feel? It makes you feel like you didn't do a good enough job as a parent, it makes you feel like -- or Little Johnny gets an F on a paper. Am I enough? Am I enough as a parent, as a husband? Am I enough as a boss or as an employee?

So I see these -- the questions for me are really the key. Because it can be a little difficult for some of us to say, Am I trying to meet my need for security or my need for approval or my need for control? It's probably easier to say, What question is driving this? Will I have enough, am I enough, or do I matter? And when you understand that, then you can pivot and you can say, oh, thank you for this opportunity to actually turn to God and to trust him.

So I could go on about examples, you know, of the fear of not having enough money and how that can turn into miserliness or that can turn into greed. The power to control. Who hasn't ever just powered up on somebody and really tried to manipulate and control a situation? I mean, it's pretty immediate and obvious in most of our lives.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Okay, so I think most of us, just with what you explained, can identify in our own lives very poignant and maybe difficult examples. So I'm getting it. And I love the fact that you said sometimes the best way to identify is to ask those questions. And so in doing so, Tommy, though, you have to be honest with yourself. You have to really sit with your soul and just be honest, and that can feel very vulnerable.

So in your book, you also write that vulnerability opens us to the possibility of solidarity. So I want to know what you mean by this, and how can we apply this?

Tommy Brown: Well, that's really true. And I'm glad that you drew that out. Vulnerability opens us to the possibility of solidarity, and solidarity means that I'm not alone. So once I realize that the particularities, the nuances, the examples in my life of how I'm struggling with things are not just native or specific to me, these are things that every human is struggling with. So while the instance might change or while the example might change, you may wrestle with the temptation to strive for security in order to answer the question, Will I have enough? In a different way, we're both wrestling with it to some degree or another for our entire life, and it's never going to go away. The only question is, how am I going to respond to it?

I mean, Maslow hit the nail's head. It's at the base of who we are. It's just basic human -- before we can self-actualize, which deals with that search for meaning and significance and am I enough and all of that, we've got to get that question down pat.

So when I'm able to say, hey, this is something that I'm dealing with, I bet other people are dealing with this as well, then as a community we can walk through these things together. So you're not alone. You are seen. You're not a bad person. You may make some silly decisions. And whenever you respond to the temptations or the tests or these offers in unhealthy ways, you may get what you want, but when you get it, you won't want what you have.

You need to look no further than the Abram and Sarai incident whenever they got Ishmael. And so they birthed a son out of all of that, and it -- you know the backstory on all that.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. And look at the world now because of it, right?

Tommy Brown: Lots of challenges have played out from that one decision.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Tommy Brown: Now, it does not mean that God cannot redeem it. God takes all things and works them together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose. But I would rather have what God wants for me than for God to have to make something out of my mess. But I'm open either way. He's pretty good at it.

Jennifer Rothschild: We can trust him with the process.

Tommy Brown: I think so.

Jennifer Rothschild: What's interesting too, Tommy, is -- I appreciate what I'm hearing consistently -- is this is not one and done. This is an every-day, every-minute-of-every-day kind of thing. And so in several places in the book, I remember that you share that you often pray, "Lord, I release striving and receive trust." So talk to us about that prayer, why it's important to you and how that helps with the dailyness of this process.

Tommy Brown: Well, that prayer came to me from a trip that I took to a Jewish retreat center. It was part of a seminary course. And it feels to me like I lived a month's worth of experiences in just a few short days. And we were in a river and it was part of their custom to do a mikvah. You can kind of think of it as a baptism that you might do over and again for cleansing. It's not a baptism in that proper sense. But it's a way to get ready for maybe a holy day or Sabbath or something like that.

As I'm standing in that river, the guide says, "What is something you want to release and what is something that you want to receive?" And each person just started shouting out, you know, "I release anger" and "I receive peace." And for me, I realized what I wanted to release was striving and I wanted to receive some trust. You know, I talk about it in the book. I'm open about that I really for a season -- and thank God it seems to have improved -- I really wrestled with anxiety. I had something that happened that kind of set that off and flared it up for a season. And that was a real invitation for me, was to release -- you know, when you say striving, what does that mean? It's like white-knuckling the steering wheel of your life. Like, I'm going to make something happen. Trust is really more open handed. It's softer, it's more pliable. It's generous and joyous and it realizes everything that we have comes from the good hand of God.

So I've gone back to that, that -- you could call it a prayer, you could call it a practice of releasing and receiving over and again, because it really is an antidote to striving. God, I don't want to strive, so I release this situation into your hands and I receive your solution. I release this bad report into your hands and I receive your peace. There's always an opportunity to reframe a moment, to reframe a situation. You cannot always control what happens to you, but you can always control how you respond to what happens to you. That's what Viktor Frankl taught us in "Man's Search for Meaning." They could take away from him, in the concentration camp, his clothing, you know, his power, his freedom, but they can never take away his ability to choose his perspective. So that's just a little practice for me.

And there are various practices in the book for each of the temptations. And once you understand -- you're only going to struggle with these three things, but the faces that they take are going to be myriad and manifold and different. You may not see what it is at first, but once you identify it, that's the temptation to perform for approval. What I need is gratitude. Now, how do I get gratitude? Oh, I get gratitude by staying in God's Word so I see things as they really are and I can have my heart focused on Christ and what he has for me.

So each temptation has a mindset and has a practice that will just cultivate the heart and the mind to position you to be able to have the abundant life that Christ offers. But newsflash, it ain't easy. There are no gimmicks. It's not fast and get ready to fail. But every failure is just an opportunity to keep moving forward, so --

Jennifer Rothschild: That's right. You can fail forward, right?

Tommy Brown: Yeah, that sounds good.

Jennifer Rothschild: Hey, you know, as I listen to you, Tommy, I have two thoughts. One, I'm so thankful for a Savior who was willing to endure what he did in those temptations so that we can learn. He didn't have to do that for us. What a kind gift. And I'm also grateful that our Savior led you to make this so practical for us, because it really is.

And you said something about being at that Jewish -- I don't know what you called it. A retreat center.

Tommy Brown: Yeah, the retreat center, yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. So here's a question about that. Because in your book, you explain a concept -- I'm wondering if you learned it there -- that rabbis called -- I'll mispronounce it -- Kavanah or Kavanah?

Tommy Brown: Wow, you do -- the first one was a lot closer than I got on my first attempt. So we'll do Kavanah. Yeah, that's --

Jennifer Rothschild: Kavanah. Okay. And it means intention, right? So explain that to us and why that matters.

Tommy Brown: I think we may have hit on it a little bit earlier. But the reason Jesus could turn water to wine and multiply loaves and fishes -- fish. Fishes? Is that the plural? It's the King James plural. I don't know how it works. Anyhow...

Jennifer Rothschild: I don't either.

Tommy Brown: Why is it okay for Jesus' mama to say, you know, "Do this" at the wedding at Cana, his first miracle, but it's not okay to turn stones to bread? And I think that, you know, as the cliché -- cliches, you know, stick around because they're true. The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart. So the intention is on the one hand, you know, God, this is for your glory. And on the other hand it's, I'm going to make something happen. And, you know, you can do anything in your life. And you can do it from a posture of striving, performing, or controlling with power, or you can do things in your life from a posture of trust and gratitude and worship.

So some of the people that your listeners are going to be really impressed with, the Lord is not going to be impressed with some of the things that they do, myself included --

Jennifer Rothschild: Me too.

Tommy Brown: -- because you don't get the intention right behind it.

And so I think Scripture is replete with examples of people who had it all together on the outside but they were missing the core of it. How many times did Jesus bump up against situations, and he would have to correct not so much the action as the intention, the motivation that was driving the action. So you can do the same thing with two different intentions: trust, faith, or over here, striving, performing. And I think that while in God's grace, he'll always redeem those things. It may cause some suffering, may cause some trouble, some heartache. But I think that God is patient with us in that and, you know, you wake up to it over time, and I'm continually waking up and trying to align my intentions with my actions.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, me too. It is all about the heart. That is what God sees. And, you know, I heard somebody one time explaining -- and I wish I could remember who it was to credit them. But something about being an integrated person. And when you're not the same person on the inside that you appear to be on the outside, you are disintegrated. So you are not integrated and you disintegrate.

And so you're right when you said it invites maybe some suffering and pain. Though God can redeem it, wouldn't it be simpler for all of us just to start studying our hearts and begin just with that right intention?

Tommy Brown: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: I want to stay, though, Tommy, with this Jewish thoughts for a few minutes.

Tommy Brown: Sure.

Jennifer Rothschild: Because I think we in the United States, or in Western culture in general, sometimes we misunderstand this Jewish concept of Sabbath. And so I would like for you to give us an understanding what Sabbath is and tell us why it's important for living the kind of life that God designed for us.

Tommy Brown: Well, great question. You know, Jesus was Jewish. I think sometimes we forget that. You know, Jesus wasn't a white dude from Alabama. So he's Jewish. He's born in a certain time, certain customs. And Jesus was often -- he often found himself in trouble whenever it came to the Sabbath, because he would heal on the Sabbath, he would set people free on the Sabbath, you know. And really what he said gets at the heart of the matter. It's so simple, it's so basic, and I think that I had it wrong the whole time. Jesus said, you know, God didn't make you for the Sabbath; God made the Sabbath for you. I think it was Isaiah that said you should turn back your foot from doing wickedness and you should call the Sabbath a delight.

And so it was once again when I was on that trip that I asked one of the rabbis there, I said -- you know, it was Sabbath and -- I think I was having a conversation with one of the local Jewish brothers there and I think I asked him to go on a run or something. You know, he was deliberating about whether or not he could do that. And I ended up asking one of the rabbis, I said, you know, to me, I've always thought of Sabbath as a bunch of things that I've got to quit doing. You know, I have a couple of young kids, I'm married, I'm new to this whole thing. What do I need to cut out in order to keep the Sabbath? And he just responded in wisdom, just very simply. I know it was wise because he said it so purely, so -- it was such a short sentence, but I've been unpacking it even to this day. He said, "Don't focus on what you need to cut out. Why don't you do one thing that you never get to do that brings you joy and start there and watch what happens." And so we did.

I came home, sat down with my family and said, "What's one thing we never get to do that would bring you joy?" And one of my kids was like, "We could go to Disney every week." I'm like, "We can't afford it." I think one of the kids said, you know, "We could get a unicorn that poops Skittles." And I thought that's great, that's great. But eventually one of them said, "Why don't we just eat outside on Sabbath?" And then another one of them said, "Yeah, that sounds good," and I thought we have a consensus. My children, five years apart, agree on something. This is the Lord, you know. So we went with it, you know. We started by cooking inside and then eating outside, and then we eventually started cooking outside and eating outside, and then they started inviting their friends.

And, you know, the funniest thing happened. One of the things I would have wanted us to cut out on Sabbath was screen time. We're just on the screens too much. It's obnoxious. And so I didn't have to fight that battle. We just -- we started eating outside, and then we started eating a little earlier in the day outside, and then we started, you know, cooking our food outside and hanging around by the fire. And it was the most delightful thing. And it's like the day would just slur along and we were present to one another. You know, if a kid popped up an iPad, whatever. But it didn't stay for long because they wanted to get outside. And I think that that invitation to do one thing that we never got to do, rather than focusing on what we needed to cut out.

So let me be clear on this. We are not approaching the Sabbath as law-abiding Jews. That's not who your listeners are most likely.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right.

Tommy Brown: We're approaching the Sabbath through that principle that Jesus gave us that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So I think that's a good place to start.

Now, you can add to that and say, you know, I'm doing one thing I never get to do. I'm going to cut out one thing that I hate doing. I'm not going to do laundry on the Sabbath. Now, that might take some planning, right? Because if you do Sabbath on Sunday, then Monday's coming. Or I'm not going to cook on Sabbath. Okay, let's plan ahead.

So I think that Sabbath is an invitation to reset. It gets us back in touch with what I call the 6:1 rhythm of creation, that God worked for six days and then God rested. And it's not like Sabbath rest is doing nothing. A lot of people feel guilty about that. Sabbath rest actually is doing something. It is resting. Resting is the assignment. Resting resets us with the rhythm of God's creation so that our lives find some balance and we're able to notice and remember that we can take our hands off the steering wheel of the universe for a day and find out that God is actually the one running it the whole time anyhow.

So there's much more to be said about Sabbath than I unpack it in the book, but it's a beautiful life-giving invitation that I think we would all benefit from.

Jennifer Rothschild: Absolutely. And I appreciate the way you differentiated that. Thank you to the rabbi who helped you with that and helps all of us with that.

Tommy Brown: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: But I will say, I've got some little people in my life who would think it is exceptionally cool if they had a unicorn who pooped Skittles. Just saying.

Tommy Brown: Amen.

Jennifer Rothschild: So there you go.

Tommy Brown: Like, make it happen. Make it happen. One of your listeners right now is engineering some concoction, and they're going to -- yeah. Wait for it, it's coming.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's coming. Okay. But as you already alluded to, there's so much more that you could say about this that is in the book, and that is why we are so recommending your book, Tommy. But I will end with this last question.

Okay. So somebody is listening right now and this is really resonating. So I'm curious, what advice could you give to that person who -- they feel like, okay, they are just worn out in this quest to find meaning and they're just starting to recognize, okay, well, yeah, I've been trying to meet all my healthy needs in unhealthy ways, so, of course, I'm worn out. So what could be your best advice for them to find the meaning that they're looking for?

Tommy Brown: It's already there. The meaning in your life is as close as the air you breathe. It's not something you're going to achieve, it's not something you're going to arrive at. I had a mentor who used to say to us pastors, "There is no pot of gold at the end of the ministry rainbow." And I would just take out the word "ministry" and just say there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You never arrive at a place to where you feel like you have it altogether. You never arrive at a place where you're like, if I just got there, I would find some meaning. The meaning isn't outside of you; the meaning is embedded in you. And what I mean by that is the meaning you're searching for is your identity that you are a beloved daughter or son of God.

So Jesus heard those words at his baptism before he resisted a temptation, before he performed a miracle, before he preached a sermon, before he cast out a demon, before he went to the cross, and before he was resurrected from the dead. Jesus heard the words, "This is my beloved Son, with him I am well pleased." Well, that's not based in his performance. He hadn't done anything yet that we know of. So to me, that says that God's approval is not something that you earn, it's something that you're invested with.

So the meaning you're seeking is not outside of you. It's not on the other side of you getting rid of your sin, whatever your habit is that always comes to your mind whenever you've got your hands raised or whenever you're reading your Bible. It's not in you achieving anything. The meaning is found in your identity, and there's nothing you could do to earn it, there's nothing you could do to lose it, there's nothing you could do to make it happen.

And so that to me is the question behind the three questions of, Will I have enough? Am I enough? Do I matter? The question behind the three questions we see at The Last Supper. Jesus, knowing where he had come from and where he was going, stood up from the table, wrapped a towel around his waist, and washed the feet of the disciples. How could the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Master of all Masters, how could he humble himself in that way? Because he knew where he had come from and where he was going.

So the real question is, where have you come from and where are you going? And the answer is you have come from God and you are returning to God, and God in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, is with you now. That to me is where the ache for meaning is satisfied. But that's a journey we have to walk and an awakening that we slowly come to over time.

Jennifer Rothschild: This whole conversation made me think of Romans 11:36. "For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever!" Amen. Amen.

K.C. Wright: Amen and amen. One of my favorite Scriptures.

I'm going to quote Tommy, though, here. "The meaning in your life is as close as the air you breathe." The meaning isn't outside of you; it is inside of you. It is your identity as a beloved daughter or a beloved son of God.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Good.

And I also thought it was super powerful how he talked about Jesus, at Jesus' baptism, you know, that God was pleased with Jesus before Jesus did one thing. No miracles, no sermons, nothing. God was just simply pleased because Jesus was his son. And I think that is so powerful because, y'all, that is where our meaning lies also, in our identity in Christ, like K.C. said, as a beloved daughter or son.

K.C. Wright: Or, if you're under six years old, it's a unicorn who poops Skittles. I mean, is that really a quote from today's podcast?

Jennifer Rothschild: You know it was. Isn't that funny? I laughed.

K.C. Wright: I mean, really, a unicorn who poops Skittles? I laughed out loud when I heard that.

Jennifer Rothschild: That was great.

K.C. Wright: What child, though, hasn't said something like that before? I know mine has.

Jennifer Rothschild: I know.

K.C. Wright: Anyway, you need his book, and we're going to give one away. Go to Jennifer's Instagram @JennRothchild to enter to win. Or simply go to the Show Notes at to get connected to it. And, of course, you can read a transcript there too.

Jennifer Rothschild: Mm-hmm. And I think you need to share this podcast with somebody. I needed it for me. And I bet while you were listening, not only did you need it, but you thought of somebody who needs it also. So share the podcast.

All right, our friends, until next week, you can meet every need you have in healthy ways because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. I can.

K.C. Wright: I can.

Jennifer Rothschild: And you can.

K.C. Wright: And you can.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, you can.

K.C. Wright: And I'll never eat Star -- Star --

Jennifer Rothschild: Skittles?

K.C. Wright: I'll never eat Skittles the same way again. Sorry. I couldn't even say it because I was thinking.

Jennifer Rothschild: I know, because it was so traumatic. You're so traumatized.

K.C. Wright: The visual was traumatizing to me.

Jennifer Rothschild: I know. I laughed out loud. That was so funny.

K.C. Wright: Hey, I have different translations of Philippians 4:13.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, yeah, let's bring it back to spiritual. What are they?

K.C. Wright: You want me to bring it right now?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, let me hear them.

K.C. Wright: Okay. The Message Bible says this: "Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am."

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes. Good.

K.C. Wright: Ooh, so good.


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