Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dry Wisdom from the Desert Monks

The Desert Monks were an early Christian movement of monks who sold their possessions, left their towns, and lived alone in the deserts of northern Africa. Their wisdom is still alive today, as related in the following story about the Monk.

A long time ago, a desert hunter could not believe his eyes when he came across a group of hermits spending time together at a nearby oasis. Among them was a monk. The wise monk took his chance meeting and teach a great truth.

The monk told the hunter to put an arrow in his bow and shoot it. The hunter did so. The old man told him to do it again. The hunter obeyed. A third time, the monk asked him to shoot an arrow. The hunter blinked, looked at the others, loaded his bow with another arrow, and shot it high and far.

The monk with a rare grin said, “One more time.”

“But if I bend the bow too much, it’ll wear out and break,” the hunter said.

To this, the monk said, “Same with us. Doing God’s work will wear out even the most dedicated followers. They need a break, like we are taking, and so do you.”

The Desert Monks lived by a belief that all Christians needed a break to practice three things to bring them closer to God: solitude, silence, and prayer.

Solitude: Solitude is not enforced loneliness; it’s getting away just to hang out with God. Try carving out some time each day to be alone with God.

Silence: Silence provides mental space for the Holy Spirit to speak and work in our lives ­– no radios, no television, no phones, no background noises to drown out His voice. Try things like reading the Bible in silence, journaling or mentally reflecting on what God says to you.

Prayer: Prayer is not only talking with God, but listening to Him. Allow the practices of solitude and silence to help you in your prayer life.

Christians need to take time off from active ministry every now and then to recharge their spiritual batteries. Use solitude, silence, and prayer to keep your life plugged into the “recharger” – God.

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