John Ortberg opens his latest book with the story of a town settled on the banks of a beautiful stream. This stream delivers pure water to the town. The town paid for an old man to care for the springs that fed this stream. After a long time of paying the man, the town decided that his work was not necessary and that they would spend their money on other things. After a while the water was no longer pure and people were becoming ill from drinking the water. The town realized their mistake and began to pay the old man again to upkeep the springs. Then Ortberg concludes the story by saying, “The life of the village depends on the health of the stream. The stream is your soul. And you are the keeper.” In this new book, Soul Keeping, John Ortberg challenges us to not neglect the keeping of our soul. In the same way the health of the village depended on the stream, our health depends on how well our soul is kept.
Working from what he has learned through the years from Dallas Willard, Ortberg writes about how to take care of that which is the deepest part of ourselves and at the same time the whole person. He writes about not only the need to take care of our soul, but how to do it. Ortberg writes about how the soul needs a keeper, a center, a future, to be with God, rest, freedom, blessing, satisfaction, and gratitude.
For me, even though I was aware that my I needed to care for my inner life, my soul, it helpful to have someone to remind me of that process. It is amazing how much time we spend thinking about how to care for our minds and bodies, but how little we actually stop to thinking about the core of ourselves. We focus on our actions and behaviors, but underneath those is the need to care for the stream of water that feeds our mind and body.
I really appreciated this book. I admit I was confused about why Ortberg talked so much of Dallas Willard at first, but really it was Willard who showed him how the soul is kept and he was sharing this great wisdom with his readers. I do not think that there is anything more crucial to the life of a disciple than the health their inner life. Jesus reminds told us that it is what comes out of us that makes us clean and that the good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him. Ultimately Ortberg is reminding us that what is going on the inside has a profound effect on our everyday life. I highly recommend that you read this book and ask yourself how well you are keeping your soul.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan through netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”