For who will be taught, if he be not moved with desire to be taught? — Sir Philip Sidney
I come to this point of my life: the day before my birth. I wonder at the lost time as any many my age should. How long is one to act like a child these days? Must we continue in infancy until we are obligated? Why is it that we settle for accomplishing so little? If by means of accomplishment, we suggest mere productivity, we deceive ourselves into thinking we are being useful vessels for His cause; if by means of accomplishment, we suggest turning more souls to experience His glory, we have arrived at an acceptable definition of accomplishment. Every task is either worship or blasphemy, for all actions reflect the state of our heart’s desire. The act of non-movement, of idleness, becomes sin when the transition from enjoying God’s gift of relaxation turns into mere recreation for our own sake.
We are not beings stuck in grey areas of morality; we are either moving upward our downward; we either sin or we do not. If this sounds legalistic, one must then redefine legalism. But if we hold the assumption that man cannot be spiritually complacent, we begin to look at idleness differently. It will be noticed that idleness is eating away the modern American Christian like gnats feasting on dead flesh.
I come to this post not to lament modernity as I am wont to do but to reflect on my life, to reflect on lost time. I was reading a small biographical sketch on Samuel Johnson the other day. I read that he was so disturbed by his idleness that he sometimes worried about his salvation. Anyone who knows anything about Johnson knows that the man was anything but idle as far as we are concerned. Johnson, from what I have heard, would wake up and read Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy for three hours to begin his day. How long he kept this up, I am not sure. All I know is that I want to be like Johnson. I want to be motivated to do something.
The Christian should not fall into Johnson’s ideology in which we worry about our salvation based on our idleness. However, I see that I should be more aware of Paul’s admonition that we waste not the time for the days are evil. Lamenting lost time is pointless here, so I will list some areas in which I want to be more productive for the kingdom this next year.
- Leading. By leading we inevitably pick up more responsibilities, thus eliminating downtime.
- Serving. But when that down time comes, I must seek first to serve when others are around but more importantly when they are not. If I’m consciously seeking how to help other people, I will quickly find my time eaten up quickly.
- Learning. And by this I mean to expand my learning to practical hobbies. Fixing things. Shooting guns perhaps. Playing an instrument. I’m virtually inadequate in all areas that don’t include reading and writing, and this ought to change.
So there are three short things I wish to improve on in the upcoming year. Much like my yearly orbit around the sun, I hope on looking back that I will not end up in the same place I left off, accomplishing so little.