Friday Florilegium

Karl Barth does not mince words and in this quote skewers false humility and perfectionism. We are called to follow Christ to the best of our abilities, not moan about our inadequacies. From The Christian Life, 265:

[Christians are] forbidden the lazy excuse of all lazy servants that since all they can do will always be imperfect anyway it is not worth exerting themselves and growing weary in the causes of petty human righteousness.

No, precisely because perfect righteousness stands before them as God’s work, precisely because they are duly forbidden to attempt the impossible, precisely because all experiments in this direction are prevented and prohibited, they are with great strictness required, and with great kindness freed and empowered to do what they can do in the sphere of the relative possibilities assigned to them, to do it very imperfectly yet heartily, quietly, and cheerfully.

They are absolved from wasting time and energy sighing over the impossible limits of their sphere of action and thus missing the opportunities that present themselves in this sphere. They may and can and should rise up and accept responsibility to the utmost of their power for the doing of the little righteousness.

Photo of St Benan’s Church, Inishmore, County Galway, part of a 6th century monastic village.