Tuesday, January 02, 2007

They Also Serve

The following is my favorite poem by John Milton; for me it very powerfully conveys the difficulty and glory of the virtue of patience. The poet is blind, and feels that it turns all his talents useless; how can he serve God, being blind and apparently useless? But, as patience tells him, God does not need his work, and that there are many forms of service, and we are not called to them all. I think it's a lesson from which we all occasionally could benefit.

On His Blindness

When I consider how my light is spent
E're half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide,
Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, least he returning chide,
Doth God exact day-labour, light deny'd,
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 milde yoak, they serve him best, his State
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o're Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and waite.

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