Daily Riches: The Neglected Cultivation of Sacred Idleness (Thomas Merton, George MacDonald)

“Our being is not to be enriched merely by activity and experience as such. Everything depends on the quality of our acts and our experiences. A multitude of badly performed actions and of experiences only half lived exhausts and depletes our being. …when our activity is habitually disordered, our malformed conscience can think of nothing better to tell us than to multiply the quantity of our acts, without perfecting their quality. And so we go from bad to worse, exhausting ourselves, empty our whole life of all content, and fall into despair. There are times, then, when in order to keep ourselves in existence at all we simply have to sit back for a while and do nothing. And for a man who has let himself be drawn completely out of himself by his activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and rest, doing nothing at all. The very act of resting is the hardest and most courageous act he can perform; and often it is quite beyond his power.” Thomas Merton

“Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected.” George MacDonald

“my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus, in Matthew 11:30

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is your life ever depleted by “disordered” activity – by a multitude of “badly performed actions?”
  • Are you ever “drawn completely out of yourself” by such excessive activity?
  • When your experience comes up short, is your response to simply “multiply the quantity” of your acts?
  • Are you able to recollect yourself by cultivating “sacred idleness?” …doing nothing at all? Can you see why this could be “the hardest and most courageous act” you could do when frenzy brings despair?

Abba, deliver me from experience only half lived. Help me do less and do it more deliberately, slowly, and fully.

For More: No Man Is An Island by Thomas Merton

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Snow Day – Rest Day or Work Day? (Thomas Merton, George MacDonald, Brent Bill)

“Our being is not to be enriched merely by activity and experience as such. Everything depends on the quality of our acts and our experiences. A multitude of badly performed actions and of experiences only half lived exhausts and depletes our being. …when our activity is habitually disordered, our malformed conscience can think of nothing better to tell us than to multiply the quantity of our acts, without perfecting their quality. And so we go from bad to worse, exhausting ourselves, empty our whole life of all content, and fall into despair. There are times, then, when in order to keep ourselves in existence at all we simply have to sit back for a while and do nothing. And for a man who has let himself be drawn completely out of himself by his activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and rest, doing nothing at all. The very act of resting is the hardest and most courageous act he can perform; and often it is quite beyond his power.” Thomas Merton

“Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness.” George MacDonald

“When we discover the secret of being inwardly at worship while outwardly at work, we find that the soul’s silence brings us to God and God to us.” Brent Bill

“my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus, in Matthew 11:30

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you aware of activity in your life that “depletes your being”, leaving you exhausted, unhappy or guilty because of its “disordered” nature?
  • When you feel that way, is your response to simply multiply “the quantity” of your acts? (more “badly performed actions” and “experiences only half lived”)
  • Are you able to “do nothing at all?” to practice “sacred idleness” in order to “keep yourself in existence?”
  • What practice could help you to “find the soul’s silence”, both in work and in rest?

Abba, may my soul find peace with you in both my work and my rest.

For More: No Man Is An Island by Thomas Merton

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Always In Trouble, Always Praying (Singer, Moody, Spurgeon, MacDonald, Lloyd-Jones, Gesswein) *

“I pray only when I am in trouble; but I am in trouble all the time so I pray all the time.”  Isaac Bashevis Singer

“I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man I have ever met!”  D. L. Moody

“We should pray when we are in a praying mood, for it would be sinful to neglect so fair an opportunity. We should pray when we are not in a proper mood, for it would be dangerous to remain in so unhealthy a condition.” Charles Spurgeon

“What if the main object in God’s idea of prayer be the supplying of our great, our endless need–the need of himself? What if the good of all our smaller and lower needs lies in this, that they help drive us to God? Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other needs; prayer is the beginning of that communion.” George MacDonald

“I am convinced that nothing can avail except churches and ministers on their knees in total dependence on God. As long as you go on organizing, people will not fall on their knees and implore God to come and heal them.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“To this day the prayer level is the power level of the church.” Armin Gesswein

“Devote yourselves to prayer.”
Colossians 4:2

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you pray all the time because “you are in trouble all the time?” How big a part does your mood play in whether or not you pray? Think about the significance of your answer.
  • Can you imagine God allowing “smaller needs” in your life to “drive you to Him?” …because the greatest need of your soul is “communion with God?” …because his greatest desire is communion with you?
  • When you minister to others, what is your most important preparation? It is planning, researching, studying, strategizing – or praying? What does your answer say about what you really believe?
  • Have you established a daily routine, for instance, of praying “evening, morning and noon” like David and Daniel did (Psalm 55:17, Dan. 6:10)? If not, are you praying faithfully without one?

Abba, thank you for desiring intimacy with me, and for how you listen when I pray.

 For More: Prayer Powerpoints by Randall D. Roth

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

Daily Riches: Always In Trouble, Always Praying (Singer, Moody, Spurgeon, MacDonald, Lloyd-Jones, Gesswein)

“I pray only when I am in trouble; but I am in trouble all the time so I pray all the time.”  Isaac Bashevis Singer

“I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man I have ever met!”  D. L. Moody

“We should pray when we are in a praying mood, for it would be sinful to neglect so fair an opportunity. We should pray when we are not in a proper mood, for it would be dangerous to remain in so unhealthy a condition.” Charles Spurgeon

“What if the main object in God’s idea of prayer be the supplying of our great, our endless need–the need of himself? What if the good of all our smaller and lower needs lies in this, that they help drive us to God? Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other needs; prayer is the beginning of that communion.” George MacDonald

“I am convinced that nothing can avail except churches and ministers on their knees in total dependence on God. As long as you go on organizing, people will not fall on their knees and implore God to come and heal them.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“To this day the prayer level is the power level of the church.” Armin Gesswein

“Devote yourselves to prayer.”
Colossians 4:2

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you pray all the time because “you are in trouble all the time?” How big a part does your mood play in whether or not you pray? Think about the significance of your answer.
  • Can you imagine God allowing “smaller needs” in your life to “drive you to Him?” …because the greatest need of your soul is “communion with God?” …because his greatest desire is communion with you?
  • When you minister to others, what is your most important preparation? It is planning, researching, studying, strategizing – or praying? What does your answer say about what you really believe?
  • Have you established a daily routine, for instance, of praying “evening, morning and noon” like David and Daniel did (Psalm 55:17, Dan. 6:10)? If not, are you praying faithfully without one?

Abba, thank you for desiring intimacy with me, and for how you listen when I pray.

 For More: Prayer Powerpoints by Randall D. Roth

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These “Daily Riches” are meant to give you something of uncommon value each day. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)