Do Nothing to Change Your Life

Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Reading and co-author of the Emmaus Course, was reported on the news one day to be standing on Reading station handing out egg-timers to commuters and urging them to use them as a means of doing nothing for 3 minutes. His plea is that we learn to slow down and take stock of our lives. ‘When did you last have a real day off?’ he asks, ‘and why not ditch your to-do list, switch off the phone or sit in the bath until the water goes cold?’

It’s only a little book with a wacky title but stunningly simple in its message. We need to get off the treadmill of today’s overheated society and learn to spend more time simply doing nothing and rediscovering the true self within. Cottrell calls this not time wasting but ‘using time differently’, claiming that it produces fruitfulness and an opportunity to ‘travel back into yourself’.

There’s not much to say about this book really other than it’s a wake-up call for all overtaxed Christians and an intriguing introduction into the way in which God can reveal Himself to people who are not Christians through the ordinary things of life. Cottrell stresses that the very character of the universe is unconditional love and that God is not loving but ‘God is love’.

This is the kind of book you can give as a present to someone who is not a Christian, and then follow it up to see what new insights they have gained as to the nature of God and the life He wants us to live.