St Dunstan’s

Monks Risborough, Buckinghamshire, England

St Dunstan's James Tomkins 2

James’ Message

Dear Friends,

There's a story about a business executive talking on his mobile phone whilst walking across a beautiful sun-drenched beach. Over his phone conversation all he can hear is the sound of the waves and the gulls crying. Ahead of him, a man in simple clothes is having a doze in the shade of a fishing boat that has been pulled up onto the beach. As the executive passes, the fisherman wakes up and the executive, now waiting for a call to be returned, decides to start up a conversation.

“The weather is great, there are plenty of fish; why are you lying around instead of going out and catching more?” The fisherman replies gently, “Because I caught enough this morning.” “But just imagine”, the executive says, “if you went out three or four times a day and brought home three or four times as many fish, do you know what could happen?” Puzzled, the fisherman shrugs his shoulders. “Why”, says the executive, becoming more enthusiastic, “you could buy yourself another small fishing boat. Then after, say, two years you could buy a third one. Then after perhaps three years, you could buy a couple of trawlers to make a small fleet. And just think, then you could scale up and build a freezing plant and eventually buy your own helicopter for tracing shoals of fish and guiding your boats to your catch. You could even acquire your own truck to transport your fish to the capital, and then…”

“And then?” asks the fisherman. “And then,” the executive concludes triumphantly, “you could be calmly sitting on the beach, dozing in the sun and looking at the beautiful ocean!” The fisherman pauses…and then replies, “What do you think I am doing now?”

We often say to ourselves that we haven't enough time to do a particular job, or task, or to visit a friend. The reality is that we do have enough time for the really important things in life, so that it's not so much a question of time as a question of where our priorities lie. For example, if I don't go and see a person who's ill or action an email that's been sitting in my inbox for weeks, it's not because I don't have the time, it's because I consider other people or other things to be more important, to have a higher priority.

When we look at the life of Jesus, we see that he had found time to pray, he had a clear focus and priority to his life: to love God and to care for others. He made time for those who were in difficulty, the poor and the troubled. He found time to rest amidst the unending demands on his life. Jesus clearly knew where his priorities lay.

For the third year, we are again running our daily prayer services in August. You'll find details of these on page 8 of this Newsletter. These services are there to give ourselves ‘time out’ in what is usually a quieter time of year. Hopefully there will be one or more formats that you'll find helpful so that, like the fisherman in the story, you'll have the time to discern what is important to you.

With all good wishes,