The lesson of a spoonful – The People's Defender

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received 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 that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.” 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 significance beyond appearances can gain much from books and the words within. The book “The Alchemist” is not placed in the Christian genre, but spiritual truths can still be applied and spiritual conversations can still be had about the ideas contained inside it.
There is short scene recorded in “The Alchemist” in which a young boy learns the lesson of happiness. The wisest of wise men gave the boy a spoon with two drops of oil. He then told the boy to take a two-hour tour the palace but not to spill any oil. The boy returned, oil safe in spoon, but oblivious to all the wonders of the palace. The wise man 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 delight. The wise man told him, “The Secret of Happiness lies in looking at all the wonders of the world and never forgetting the two drops of oil in the spoon.” (Pages 13-14).
The person who focuses either too much on work or too much on self is unbalance and therefore misses the innate beauty of balance. God has designed His image-bearers to work. But He also specified by example that they should rest and rejuvenate. Sometimes, as lovers of God, people get consumed with the mission and forget to rest and enjoy the wonders God has given to be experience personally.
If people get caught up in work, even if it is God-ordained work, they can get bogged down in stress, burn out, or their own agendas. Work is a beautiful thing, a worthwhile thing, and a God-honoring thing. But working to extremes is costly. It costs joy, peace, and rest. A mind always focused on work robs a person of seeing the wonders around, much like the young boy who returned from a two- hour tour, oil in spoon, yet deprived of the sights around.
Also, like the boy who returned, oil spilled from spoon, a mind that doesn’t work is a mind that is robbed of the amazing connections, developments, and lessons learned in the workplace. God has designed the mind to thrive and grow and yearn for the developments made when working.
The secret the wisest of wise men told the young boy is to have balance. To be happy in life, people must work while maintaining their rest, individuality, and spark. Working to see only the spoon filled with oil at the end of the day or week or lifetime is a life empty of joyful memories and personal discoveries. And the other extreme is an empty spoon which means a life spent only in the pursuit of personal happiness and comfort is representative of a life devoid of kingdom purpose and community.
Although this wasn’t written as a spiritual truth, Christ-followers know they have a high calling. It can be difficult at times to take a moment for self, to rest and recoup, but it is an important time. God has called Christians to love God and love people, and if done correctly, it’s taxing, which is why we so desperately need balance. Balance of work and rest. We need those moments of wonder and delight to refuel us and refill us to go back with gusto and fulfill our kingdom purpose.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,” Colossians 3:23
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