Thursday, March 1, 2012

Work and Prayer

I finished reading Don't Waste Your Life by Piper this week. I finished a couple other books as well, which does not indicate I have been reading a lot. Rather, I was reading too many books at once and was almost done with several of them.

John Piper is not my favorite author. I love to hear him preach. My heart swells with the excellencies of Christ every time I download a sermon. But I find his writing hard to follow. So I would classify this as a good book but not a great book. Still I've been following thoughts down several trails since I finished, so I probably shouldn't complain about a book that has gotten me thinking.

In the chapter "Making Much of Christ from 8 to 5" (Moms...wouldn't you love "office" hours?!) Piper quotes Jonathan Edwards' Thoughts Concerning the Revival. Piper claims the "person" Edwards is alluding to is his own wife, Sarah Edwards. Her passion for Christ was stirred during that Revival. I just wish Edwards didn't find it necessary to be so discreet. Please spell it out for me: this is my own wife, I know her better than any other and I know this to be true. Forthrightness would make it easier for me, the uneducated reader. But that is an aside...the main point:
"Oh how good," said the person once, "it is to work for God in the daytime, and at night to lie down under his smiles!" High experiences and religious affections in this person have not been attended with any disposition at all to neglect the necessary business of a secular calling, to spend time in reading and prayer, and other exercises of devotion; but worldly business has been attended with great alacrity, as part of the service of God; the person declaring that it being done thus, "tis found to be as good as prayer."
In other words, Jonathan Edwards said: dinner was served in a timely manner, the eleven children were disciplined, the house was maintained, and he had a clean shirt to wear on Sunday. Sarah worked with great "alacrity" in her secular sphere, the home. Her heart burning within her, she worked all day long and lay down at night under the smile of God.

When I am overtaken by a "religious affection" alacrity is household affairs isn't usually one of the chief characteristics. In fact, somewhere else in Don't Waste Your Life Piper recommends a three day retreat with only the Bible for company. Sounds lovely, sounds godly, I want one. But I won't be going a three day retreat with my Bible. I will be here at home, praying all the while that I can learn to see how service in my sphere can be "found to be as good as prayer."

No comments:

Post a Comment