Quiet Zeal

A.W. Tozerby A.W. Tozer

It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. Galatians 4:18

There are a certain number of persons that cannot rest until they are making a great noise and stirring up a world of dust. Their temperament demands that they be always burnt up about something. Their type of mind forbids that they let their friends and neighbors alone until they have come over on their side and gotten behind some sure-fire movement to save the world. They are perpetually dashing from door to door collecting signatures demanding the abolishment of this or the establishment of that. One such dear, tender-hearted little lady, deeply in love with the birds, appeared for years every time our state legislators met in Springfield and fervently pressed for a bill to muzzle all cats in the state! So zealous was she that the weary lawmakers finally surrendered to her pressure and passed the bill. (It was later vetoed by the then governor, Adlai Stevenson.)

The truth is that though all godly persons are zealous, not all zealous people are godly. The zeal that accompanies sanctity is rarely boisterous and noisy. So great was the zeal of our Lord that it was said to have eaten Him up, yet Isaiah said of Him: “He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” And it was He who excoriated the zealots who compassed sea and land to find one convert, only to make him more evil than he was before.

by A.W. Tozer