Charles Fillmore described the spiritual power of ZEAL as “the affirmative impulse of existence.” We can imagine all kinds of new possibilities in our lives, we can understand the process of achieving them. But nothing will be accomplished if we lack the enthusiasm, the spiritual force that moves us out of inertia and into action. That urge to move forward is the power known as zeal.
This description of zeal sounds very high energy, and indeed action is often the most important expression of this power. But action alone is not always the answer; our zeal may sometimes express as perfect stillness. This is beautifully depicted in the New Testament story of Mary and Martha receiving Jesus and his disciples into their home: “Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; only one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken from her’” (Luke 10:38-42).
There is a spiritual danger, then, in excessive zeal, or in zeal that is not balanced by the wisdom to recognize right priorities. How many of us spend our days like Martha, zealously busy at the work of getting ready to receive the Lord, to welcome the Presence of God within us. We can get so busy doing that we forget to be. Mary brought great zeal to her decision to simply sit and listen. Enthusiasm for serving others is good and important, but it is also important to take the time to simply be with the Christ Presence of God within us.
Today we affirm that our divine power of zeal is tempered with wisdom, and a perfect balance is maintained between my heart and mind, and between my spiritual Self and my human experiences.