The lesson of a spoonful

“Each of you should use your gift to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10

“And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had made, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” Genesis 2:2

Books are gifts. Good books have the power to unleash creativity, imagination, inspiration and spiritual awakening. Good books challenge us. The person who sees meaning beyond appearances can gain much from the books and the words they contain. The book “The Alchemist” is not placed in the Christian genre, but spiritual truths can still be applied and spiritual conversations can still take place about the ideas it contains.

There is a short scene recorded in “The Alchemist” in which a young boy learns the lesson of happiness. The wisest of the wise gave the boy a spoon with two drops of oil. He then told the boy to take a two-hour tour of the palace but not to spill any oil. The boy returned, the oil safe in a spoon, but unaware of all the wonders of the palace. The sage sent the boy on another two-hour tour but told him to notice all the wonders around him. The boy returned with an empty spoon but eyes full of joy. The wise man told him: “The secret of happiness is to look at all the wonders of the world and never forget the two drops of oil in the spoon.” (Pages 13-14).

The person who focuses too much on work or too much on self is unbalanced and therefore lacks the innate beauty of balance. God designed His image bearers to work. But He also made it clear by example that they needed to rest and recharge. Sometimes, as lovers of God, people get caught up in mission and forget to rest and enjoy the wonders God has given to be experienced personally.

If people get caught up in work, even if it is God-ordained work, they can become bogged down in stress, exhaustion, or their own agendas. Work is a beautiful thing, a worthwhile thing, and a thing that honors God. But working to extremes is expensive. It costs joy, peace and rest. A mind still focused on work deprives a person of seeing the surrounding wonders, just like the young boy who returns from a two-hour tour, oil in a spoon, but deprived of the surrounding sights.

Also, like the boy who came back oil spilled from a spoon, a non-functioning mind is a mind that is deprived of the incredible connections, developments, and lessons learned in the workplace. God designed the mind to prosper and grow and yearn for the developments achieved through work.

The secret the wisest of wise told the young boy is to have balance. To be happy in life, people need to work while maintaining their peace, individuality, and spark. Working to see only the spoonful of oil at the end of the day or the week or the end of life is a life empty of joyful memories and personal discoveries. And the other extreme is an empty spoon, which means that a life devoted solely to the pursuit of personal happiness and comfort is representative of a life devoid of kingdom purpose and community.

Although it was not written as spiritual truth, followers of Christ know they have a high calling. Sometimes it can be difficult to take time for yourself, to rest and recuperate, but it is an important time. God has called Christians to love God and to love people, and if done right, it is taxing, which is why we desperately need balance. Balance between work and rest. We need these moments of wonder and delight to refuel and fill us to return with enthusiasm and fulfill our kingdom purpose.

“Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, as if you were working for the Lord and not for human masters. » Colossians 3:23

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