Security in Mastering the Routine


“There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an achievement. For an achievement does not settle anything permanently. We still have to prove our worth anew each day; we have to prove that we are as good today as we were yesterday. But when we have a valid alibi for not achieving anything we are fixed, so to speak, for life.” – Eric Hoffer

Patterns can be mastered that feel like accomplishment, and if it’s rewarded then security sets in. Some people wake up knowing exactly what they need to do tomorrow. The rest wake up with something creative to prove, and you’re only as good as your last production.

We’re a culture that seeks security in mastering a routine that offers meager rewards for minor accomplishments that could be reproduced by almost anyone else; or expensive robots.

The Hoffer quote above is one I’ve carried around for a long time. He wasn’t a Christian, but his comment can apply to those who think yesterdays righteous deeds are a guarantee of faithfulness tomorrow. That’s a holiness alibi. Instead we should start the day desperate for strength to obey, and end it with humble amazement if we do.


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