Still standing about doing nothing?
I found myself trawling through “Palgrave’s Golden Treasury” this morning after training and happened upon, “Upon His Blindness” by John Milton.
In the sonnet he laments his frustration with his blindness and what be perceives as his inability, therefore, to serve God through reading and writing poetry as had been his pattern:
“……that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker…”
He then has a conversation with a personification of “Patience” who brings him a message of humility and of grace:
“……..God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best.”
Much as Milton wished to serve (and had previously served), in his blindness, he is comforted as he learns the art of patience. “Patience” concludes with the message:
“They also serve who only stand and wait.”
This echoed that passage in Ephesians that I was reflecting on recently in a previous post:
“Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
This is a hard lesson, but one of grace.
Ultimately, the haring about accomplishing tasks left, right and centre is all very well, but perhaps there are occasions where all that is required from an individual is patience, and the humility to stand and wait, in the knowledge that, valuable as our contributions may be, they are not valuable because they are our contributions per se.
And perhaps that very stillness and constancy may well have effects that are profound, hard to imagine – but powerful nonetheless.