The Silent Monk
Several years ago, a man joined a monastery, where, in addition to the vows of celibacy and poverty, he was required to make a vow of silence. According to the rules of the monastery, the man was allowed to speak only two words a year, and only during his annual review in front of the evaluation board.
The new monk served his first year in absolute silence. At year’s end, when his performance was being evaluated, he finally was permitted to speak. The two words he uttered were, “Food cold.” The monk served his second year in absolute silence. At year’s end, his two words to the evaluation board were, “Bed hard.”
The man then served his third year in absolute silence. At the end of the year, when he showed up for his final review, his two words were, “I quit.” To which the monastery leader responded, “Your decision doesn’t surprise us; after all, you’ve done nothing but complain since you got here.”
If only our complaining were limited to just two words per year, how much more peaceful and quiet our lives would be. “Do all things without complaining,” said Paul in Philippians 2:14. But is that really possible? Can a believer truly live a complaint-free life? Sounds unattainable, doesn’t it? Yet God’s commands are meant to challenge the ruts and routines we sometimes carve out for ourselves in this life. Continue reading