Needful and Necessary
It is necessary in all things only to do what is needful.God will show thee what is Needful and Necessary for thee,
and then thee must find his strength to obey.
Even in the small things, sometimes God has a duty for us.The Inner Guide, the Christ within, will show us how we are to spend our time in each moment, in the length and width of our days.
He will show us when we are going astray,
even in the smallest things, as in the largest.
We must accept that our will and wishes and logical working out of what we should and should not do will always be inadequate, if God has other things in mind for us.
We must learn to be sensitive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit, the Truth that is Christ's to give us, and the hope that God offers us when we abandon our ego-designed efforts and let God show us our duty.
I know many Quakers who bemoan the small-mindedness they see in the traditional Quaker witness against "time-murdering" occupations as novel-reading, music, art, card playing. And yet, of all the things God would have us do in a day, this day, in this moment, is it usually the case that God wants us to read novels, play cards? Perhaps he does. I dare say he can want us to do these things. Perhaps we will learn something useful from a novel or find companionship over a card game. But is it not more often the case that these things are used to escape Reality, to avoid Responsibility to God or Home or Family, and do not enhance and may hinder our spiritual growth?
My experience says this time murdering does happen. I have been guilty of it myself, for many hours across many days through many years.
While the hard and fast rule of never indulging in these things seems to me unnecessary for those who are keeping to their Guide, yet those who are weaker in the faith and less capable in their discernment might avoid some harm if they avoid these occupations. I have seen many people who think themselves spiritually sound yet use novel-reading to escape reality, to pretend they are elsewhere, elsewhen, and someone else. Christ is the Way and the Truth. I have not seen these escape artists finding any way to live in Reality, which is the core of what Christ calls us to. I cannot regret the Quaker wisdom that sought to protect the spiritually weak from those things that are no help to them. I can only regret that they felt they knew God could never work through these things. One thing I know is that it is not for me to say in what ways God can work and through what ways he cannot. He is capable of more good in us no matter our weakness than anyone can predict.
Whatever gets between thee and God, for thee this thing is sin. It can be novels. It can be a good-paying job. It can be television shows. The Christ Within will show thee what weakness thee is to set behind thee, and will show thee the way forward into the Truth.
Tools for Daily Guidance in the Truth and the Way
FRIENDS, I do warn and exhort you all in the Presence of the Lord God, to Meet together in the Measure of Life, that with it ye may be guided up to God, and in Unity kept together up to him, the Father of Light and Life; and God Almighty be with you! And that the Dread and Terror of the Lord may among you be, and Deceit confounded; and that with the Measure of Life all your Minds may be guided up to God, that so ye all in Peace and Love may be kept.
And let this be sent among Friends, to be read ...