Desert Wisdom: Relax the Bow

Today we explore one of the “main quotations” from the early Christians—St. Anthony’s counsel to a stressed-out hunter (see 10:2).

The hunter was shocked that someone so exemplary as Anthony would appear to be relaxing with some of the brothers.  Anthony’s behavior didn’t look like “true spirituality” to the hunter.

Anthony responded with words to the hunter that speak for themselves….

“Put an arrow in your bow, and draw it.  [The hunter] did so.  He said again, “Draw it yet further,” and [the hunter] drew it some more.  Then the hunter said to him, “If I draw it too far, the bow will snap.”  Anthony answered, “So it is with God’s work.  If we always go to excess, the brothers quickly become exhausted.  It is sometimes best not to be rigid.”

Sometimes we find a better indication about our spirituality by looking at our blood-pressure numbers than by looking at our Bible-reading plan.

Discretion means developing an ability to “relax” to the glory of God.


About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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