Idle (Day 5)

The worst part about idleness is that it snatches time away from us. When we become complacent time seems to fly away faster than we could ever imagine. I am unsure of what exactly makes time work the way it does, but the older I get the faster it seems to go. As a young teenager I thought I would never turn 16 and get my driver’s license. But now I sometimes long for the days when my parents had to drive me everywhere because I am the one who does all the driving.

While there are funny parts to time and aging, the serious part we never want to discuss is that we are eternal beings in a temporary shell. This body we live in does not last forever. It wears out. It breaks down. And if we live long enough, it gives up on us (hopefully as we sleep) and we are no longer on this planet but with the Lord. That is the really scary part; what will the Creator and Savior of our souls say in regard to how we have spent our 70 plus years of existence? Will he be pleased or will he call it a waste?

There are many ways to waste time: work too hard, spend too little time with our families, spend hours and hours in front of the television, etc. Ecclesiastes teaches us that there is a time for everything; and resting is good. But too much rest, as we have already seen, makes us lazy. Being idle makes time go by all the more quickly. And then we come to the end and are sad we wasted our chances. More than that, we are sad that we did not share our faith with more people; especially those we are closest to.

To be even more real, we have all seen how the lives of many end abruptly. At so many funerals I have been to the family is weeping because it was unexpected and they longed for the opportunity to say their goodbyes. We do not know how our lives will end. We do not know if this day is our last. But we are selfish and arrogant enough to believe that we will keep on living just as we always have. That, in itself, is being idle. The truth is that we are not promised tomorrow and we should seize today and give it our very best for God.

Today’s passage is from Luke chapter 12. Please take some time to read the entire chapter. There are many lessons that could be taught from all the material in this one chapter. But here are the verses I want us to focus on today:

Luke 12 (NLT)

[15] Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”

[16] Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. [17] He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ [18] Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. [19] And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’

[20] “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’

[21] “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

In this story we see a man who has work hard in his life to get things. But we see that material possessions do not stay with us. Instead, they go to those we leave behind. And this is good in many ways. We should leave a legacy of wisdom as well as possessions to our families to be taken care of if we die unexpectedly.  But this man had lost his proper focus. He had let his life revolve around his things instead of using them to serve God.

As you have taken this week to challenge your physical, mental, spiritual, and resourceful idleness I hope that you have begun to see that it is not as much what we do or do not do but the heart intent that matters. If we are honestly serving God then all of our things, time, talents, and money is God’s and we are managing it for him. The same is true with our time. God has given us the gift of time and we must manage it well. We must devote some to study, some to family, some to work, and some to rest. But do not forget to devote as much as you can to sharing your faith with others.

An old man once told me that in life, our true treasures are the lives we impact. We do not ask to hold our trophies or our checkbook on our deathbed. Instead, we want to see the faces of those we love and hold the hands of those whose lives we have impacted. And more than any of that, we want to stand before our Creator and have him tell us that we have done well and have been faithful servants. May we live lives today (and every day) that models that kind of giving and serving.

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