O those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer …
I come from a long line of work-aholics … therefore, I’ve always struggled in this area. Work first, play later–but later there’s always more work to do! Because I’ve always filled every moment of every day with tasks to accomplish, I’ve never really learned to relax or develop hobbies. Industriousness, after all, is praised in the Bible:
“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise …. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest — and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man” Proverbs 6:6-11.
But so is rest! “There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest …” Leviticus 23:3. I know, I know, that’s Old Testament Law and meant for the Israelites, but does that mean that we in the New Testament age should never rest?
I suppose that many in my position as an evangelist of a small church in a remote area of the U.S. surrounded by all of the cultural opulence and abundance of the 21st Century might go the opposite direction and be lazy in leisure and luxury. I cheer inwardly when I read the many proverbs against this, like … “The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth” Proverbs 26:15.
But maybe it’s because that’s someone else’s problem, not mine! We had a cat who would eat lying down with her head in her dish, munching every once in a while when she was not napping there. We mocked her for it, but she didn’t care–she was a cat!
It’s easier to point out the sins of others than deal with our own weaknesses. Isn’t that what the self-righteous Pharisee said about the humble tax-collector too ashamed to lift his eyes? “God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector” (Luke 18:11).
Maybe that’s the point. In this polarized age of immersing ourselves in what we agree with, we cannot do that with God’s Word. We have to let the double-edge of the Sword come back on us (Hebrews 4:12-13) and let ourselves be taught, corrected, rebuked, and trained (2 Timothy 3:16-17) by the passages that make us squirm the most.
So, I think I might go read a book … right after I mow the lawn.