Sunday, November 4, 2012

They Also Serve Who Only Sit and Wait

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide,-
'Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?'
I fondly ask:- But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, 'God doth not need
Either man's work, or His own gifts; who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at His bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.' 
                                                          ~John Milton 

John Milton was stricken with blindness when he was only 44 years of age.  He wrote this poem, considering the fact that he was blind, therefore could not do everything he wanted to do.  This is an encouragement to me, as I am stuck in a wheelchair for now, and unable to do the daily chores I am accustomed to completing.

In my words, this is what John Milton is saying:

When I think about how I spend my days in this dark and wide world, and how I am no longer able to see when I am only half-way through my life, I realize that I am expected to use my talents faithfully for our Master's benefit.  That one talent, my being able to see, is useless...yet the desire of my soul is to serve my Master with my sight, as I don't want Him to be displeased with me.
Does God expect me to labour without light? I foolishly ask.
Patience teaches me that God does not need anything.  He does not need my work, and He does not need the gifts HE has given.  It teaches me that to bear this yoke without murmuring, for it is a mild and easy burden that He has placed on me.  In so doing I serve Him best.  
Thousands speed and travel over land and sea without res, doing the bidding of their King.
Milton is rejoicing in the fact that there is no such thing as a 'greatest worker'  - there are only those who serve God, and those who do not. And if God asks that he 'stand and wait' then his service is complete doing just that.

In God's providence He chooses some to suffer great trials and disabilities.  John Milton composed his epic poem Paradise Lost when he was completely blind, by dictating it to his daughter.  Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadraplegic confined to a wheelchair for decades, has had a vital ministry, writing books, painting, and speaking to the hearts of Christians who suffer.  Beethoven composed great symphonies after he became deaf.  Pete Gray, with only one arm, earned the right to play major league baseball.  

I am sitting in a wheelchair for a reason - God has a plan.  I do not believe that this means I can go on a holiday and pass the days mindlessly vegging out in front of the television.  I cannot do housework, and simple tasks like having a shower, brushing my teeth, and getting dressed take more time and effort than I would have dreamed possible.  However, that is no excuse.  I can use the talents God has given me to create and dream and teach; to glorify Him in this situation.

What prevents me from doing whatever my hand finds to do?  I cannot walk, but I can do so much.  I made a list today of things to tackle over the next few weeks.  Lord, help me to accomplish things for Your glory, and to reflect a portion of Your beauty.

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