“They do not know him who is the Way, your Word through whom you made those very things they are reckoning, together with themselves who do the reckoning, and the senses with which they perceive the things they reckon, and the mind with which they reckon; yet your wisdom is beyond reckoning.”
Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, on prideful natural philosophers (V.3.v)
As a student, I find it easy to forget that my work (or my study, if you will) is an act of worship that is defined by its object and revealed by its telos (goal). So I am faced every day with questions:
- Will I worship achievement–academic or otherwise?
- Will I worship work–being better, more efficient, etc?
- Will I worship acclaim–the approval of those I work with and for?
Or, will I worship the one True God–knowing that all I am and have and know and do comes as a gift from Him; prayerfully working for His glory and good; and trusting Him whatever the result?
Augustine’s prayer of safety in God’s goodness makes perfect sense then.
O Lord our God,
grant us to trust in your overshadowing wings:
protect us beneath them and bear us up.
You will carry us as little children,
and even to our grey-headed age you will carry us still.
When you are our strong security, that is strength indeed,
but when our security is in ourselves, that is but weakness.
Our good abides ever in your keeping,
but in diverting our steps from you we have grown perverse.
Let us turn back to you at last, Lord, that we be not overturned.
Unspoilt, our good abides with you,
for you are yourself our good.
We need not fear to find no home again
because we have fallen away from it;
while we are absent our home falls not to ruins,
for our home is your eternity.