Trying to think about life and how God makes it full

“In Him Alone: The Tension between Trust in God and the use of one’s Talents”.

There is a saying that has traditionally been attributed to Ignatius, “Pray as though everything depended on God, and work as though everything depends on you.” But apparently, there is nothing in his writings that supports that idea. However, there is a saying in his writings that could have given rise to it, but its just the opposite. It says, “Pray as if everything depended on you, and work as though everything depends on God.”

When you think about it, the latter saying is the better one. It calls us to prayer precisely because what we do matters, and whatever we do we want it to be what God wants us to do. So, we need to spend time in prayer, giving God the opportunity to form our will to his. And if we work as though everything depends on God, then if he wants to stop something we’re involved in then we don’t have to agonise over it and be distraught (the agony and distress coming as a result of our ego and pride being affected).

Some time ago, I was involved in the development of a potentially exciting form of a ‘fresh expression’ of church in a local high street. We prayed and worked hard for it, and of course, it was dependent upon external funding for it to be able to proceed. But all along, I had the attitude that, “If we don’t get the funding for it then it can’t happen as we had envisaged it, and I’ll take it that God doesn’t want it to go ahead that way. That’s fine, I won’t be heartbroken, embarrassed, or dismayed.”

It connects with the idea of ‘indifference’, or as I would like to call it, ‘holy indifference’. That’s about freely and completely letting something go when its plain that it must be let go. It’s also about sitting light to things in life so that the freedom to love is not constrained by the love of things, be they possessions, work, projects, etc.

Ignatius said that if his religious order were dissolved, it would take him 15 minutes of prayer to be at peace.

The trap that is always before us is that we can invest so much of who we are in what we do that our identity and value as a human being becomes directly tied to what we do.

And while it is right and proper that we should develop our skills and knowledge in the work we are given to do, we must keep alive the tension that comes from responding to God’s call to trust him with all of our life. The sin is found in trusting ourselves to ourselves or our work or anything other than primarily trusting ourselves to God. It’s sinful because we miss the mark by not allowing God to form us into fully human beings in the ways that he wants to.

Lord, please help me to keep aware of that tension and allow you always to have your way in my life. Amen.


January 25, 2007 - Posted by | contemplative, culture, emerging church, god, Ignatius, mission, religion, wisdom


  1. truly in Him alone. God bless you.

    Comment by aethen | January 25, 2007 | Reply

  2. Interesting thoughts
    God bless you
    Maria in the UK

    Comment by Maria | January 25, 2007 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: