There is one thing in this world which you must never forget to do. If you forget everything else and not this, there is nothing to worry about, but if you remember everything else and forget this, then you will have done nothing in your life.
It is as if a king has sent you to some country to do a task, and you perform a hundred other services, but not the one he sent you to do. So human beings come to this world to do particular work. That work is the purpose, and each is specific to the person. If you don’t do it, it’s as though a knife of the finest tempering were nailed into a wall to hang things on. For a penny an iron nail could be bought to serve for that.
Remember the deep root of your being, the presence of your lord. Give your life to the one who already owns your breath and your moments. If you don’t, you will be like the one who takes a precious dagger and hammers it into his kitchen wall for a peg to hold his dipper gourd. You will be wasting valuable keeness and foolishly ignoring your dignity and your purpose.
Love this from Rumi.
I have spent so much of life missing it. Is there a greater human tragedy than having the precious dagger of our unique existence confined to the role of a penny nail?
In 1864, after Sherman took Atlanta, in a last ditch effort to turn the tide of things, John Bell Hood took his Confederate Army of the Tennessee back north to play havoc on Sherman’s supply lines in the hopes of drawing him back. Sherman began pursuit, as military wisdom would dictate. But then he stopped. “My business is south,” he told his officers – and then left Hood to crash on his own wall in the north while he turned to make his infamous “march to the sea.”
So much would pull us north, east and west and every point on the compass in between, when our business is south.
Having recently taken a spiritual assessment in Bruce Bugbee’s book What You Do Best In the Body of Christ (check out my review on the BookCellar blog), I was wonderfully reminded where my business lies. I suck at evangelism (at least defined in traditional ways). Also at discernment (coming up with detailed solutions to people’s problems). It’s true! And good to remember. No precious daggers crammed into those walls. My personal pillars in the assessment: mercy, faith, shepherding. No surprise there for me – but wonderfully clarifying. And empowering.
How crucial to slow down enough, to listen and look deeply enough, to know where our business lies. And where it doesn’t.
To see the one necessary thing.
Then to be.
Then to do.