Wee Scoops

Measure for Measure

Still standing about doing nothing?

English: Portrait of John Milton in National P...

English: Portrait of John Milton in National Portrait Gallery, London (detail) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

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6 thoughts on “Still standing about doing nothing?

  1. My favorite phrase is “valuable as our contributions may be, they are not valuable because they are OURs” I think that much of what drives mankind is the word mine, me and I. I love your thoughts on all these philosophical questions. 🙂

  2. The great missionary, K. P. Yohanan, said to look around and find the job no one wants and consider it yours.
    The Israelite soldiers who went to battle, shared alike the spoils of war with those who merely “stayed by the stuff”.
    The Bible also indicates that the work of God is what He does in us, not what we do for Him.
    This, however, is my favorite:
    “Have thy tools ready. God will find thee work.” – Charles Kingsley

    I absolutely loved this post. May I reblog it?

  3. Pingback: On His Blindness By John Milton | Renard Moreau Presents

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