Rest Before Service
Last weekend, I participated in a retreat where Dr. David Marshall of Duke Divinity School shared a poem by George Herbert entitled Love (III).
One interpretation is that it is a dialogue between God and a Christian soul; a Christian who doubts that he is worthy. I was struck by the second to last stanza. The soul finally understands God’s love, but the first thing he thinks of is “How can I serve?” God’s reply is poignant. We must sit and rest and taste in the goodness of God first.
I am often tempted to work harder and faster, trying to earn God’s love. I need a constant reminder that God already loves me. I wish to serve others only so that they can feel God’s love, too.
Blessings, my friend,
George Herbert, 1593 – 1633
Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lacked anything.
“A guest," I answered, “worthy to be here”:
Love said, “You shall be he.”
“I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on thee.”
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
“Who made the eyes but I?”
“Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.”
“And know you not," says Love, “who bore the blame?”
“My dear, then I will serve.”
“You must sit down," says Love, “and taste my meat.”
So I did sit and eat.