More Fruitful than Feverish Activity

We are infatuated with ourselves.

Fearfully and wonderfully made, we are filled with power to shape the lives we lead, along with the world in which we live. Bearing the divine image, we are endowed with the potential for significant influence and impact. Indeed, we are weighty beings.

It is this “batting stance” that struggles to process a quote like the following:

“Coming before God in quietness and waiting upon Him in silence can accomplish more than days of feverish activity.”

wilderness2Tied into this realization, from A.W. Tozer, is a key strand of wilderness teaching. Ancient Israel was enrolled in a forty-year course toward grasping that their taking of the Promised Land would actually have nearly nothing to do with their ability to take Promised Land. This was to be deeply humbling and highly empowering at the same bizarre time!

So much of our lives are spent stressing over the challenges we must overcome or the standards we must meet. God wants His people clear that the works truly need undertaking within our surroundings and selves will require larger hands and finer craftsmanship. In these ventures, worshipful seeking holds more power than wild striving.

In a related theme, Barbara Brown Taylor describes the Sabbath rhythm as “a practice in death”. This is equally a theme of the Lenten season as well as a central strand to the Christian Gospel.

To be sure, God offers new life in His Son and fresh breath by His Spirit. It just requires a dead soul and a panting spirit to press us into a posture ready for such gifts.

That is why God loves the wilderness, because His people need it so.




Eugene Peterson on Sabbath

A friend (can I call you that, Darin?) passed this on to me some time ago. After reading it several times, it’s time to post it.

This is from “Christ Plays in Ten thousand Places” (page 117)…

If there is no Sabbath- no regular and commanded not-working, not-talking — we soon become totally absorbed in what we are doing and saying, and God’s work is either forgotten or marginalized. When we work we are most god-like, which means that it is in our work that it is easier to develop god-pretensions. Un-sabbathed, our work becomes the entire context in which we define our lives. We lose God-consciousness, God-awareness, sightings of resurrection. We lose the capacity to sing “this is my fathers world” and end up chirping little self-centred ditties about what we are doing and feeling.

The Most difficult command to keep, a most difficult practice to cultivate. It is one of the most abused and distorted practices of the Christians life. Many through the centuries have suffered much under oppressive Sabbath regimes. And more than a few of us have been among the oppressors.

Recent years have convinced me that most of us have missed this Sabbath thing seriously, if not completely.

Whereas we sometimes perceive it as a law or tedious set of rules that Jesus appears to have disliked, Scripture appears to paint it more as a divine rhythm, a thread in the fabric of reality. It just might be built right into the very essence of the universe.

And if any of that is true, then swimming against the flow might prove to be more destructive than we might have first imagined.

If you haven’t started chewing on the Sabbath idea yet, it’s time to begin.

Peterson is a good fellow to start with, so pop that piece in and start chewing.