Friday, May 16, 2008

Haste and Laziness

As the past week has passed, I've found myself with time to reflect that's been unusual for me of late. Opportunities for prolonged reflection tend to be few and far between when in the rush of scholastic endeavors.

It has been good - a blessing - but nonetheless a trifle different for me. Two nights ago I simply turned off the lights and sad, curled up in a chair under a blanket, watching the rain pour from the sky and the lightning flash across the heavens. It was glorious.

We miss so much in this hectic existence. There is much wisdom in the book of Proverbs, and I find it interesting that the same book warns against both laziness and haste. In America, we seem to have somehow missed both injunctions: for we make haste for the sake of being lazy, it seems. All of our striving is for the sake of making things easier for ourselves, reducing our work: and so we are constantly hurried so that we may be lazy.

We have somehow simultaneously lost sight of the facts that work is good and haste leads to destruction. Work is a great blessing, not the curse that most of us often find it to be. Sin has as one of its great consequences both the travailing that we associate with work and the dislike most people have for it. And I begin to suspect that we hurry so much, place so much emphasis on productivity, essentially because we are lazy. We remember neither the value of hard work nor what a great value there is in an unhasty life.

A life well lived involves much hard work, but done without hasty striving: done instead well and with enjoyment to the glory of God. It involves at the same time many moments of long, quiet reflection: of sitting in silence before the sunset, of peaceable evenings with a book at the fireside, of falling asleep in a spouse's arms under the stars...

Perhaps we would more rightly treasure rest if we valued our work as more than a source of income, and saw it instead as an opportunity to glorify God. Perhaps we would worry less about our work, and spend our days not consumed with it, if we understood truly what it is to be still and to know that God is indeed God.

For that is a fearful thing: to know that He is God - to know Him as He is. In the face of that, our every striving ceases - though not our doing - and our laziness is destroyed: replaced by a love of work well done and an enjoyment of rest earned.

We may live in our own capability, ever straining to accomplish on our own the myriad tasks of this existence - or we may surrender to God our Father, the Maker of all, who did before ever we were. If the former, our days will be filled with ceaseless noise, the hasty strivings of beings who have no end to their work because the end of their work is an end to work. If the latter, our days will be filled instead with a glorious effort to magnify God both in our working and our resting, and a recognition that the two, rather than standing in opposition, mutually support one another.

Impossible! comes the cry. But is is not: for all things are possible with God. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind! The Spirit frees us from old ways of thinking and leads us boldly into a new way: the oldest way. He gives us a life that is sacred from awakening to slumber's slow drift.

In this we find that there is no separation between the secular and the sacred: for to pastor a church is no more holy, in light of Christ, than to run a company. The vocations differ not in God-pleasingness but in their direction and shape.

And so we offer to God our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God: our spiritual worship, being conformed no more to the pattern this world offers, and instead being metamorphosed through the recreation of our minds: This is how we we will be able to know the will of God - what is good and perfect and right!

- Chris

1 comment:

  1. You have some interesting thoughts regarding work. However, you have yet to experience as much of it as some of us have. And you have not yet been privileged to work in corporate America.
    I will confess, that you sort of struck a nerve in me with this post.
    Even for those of us who attempt to do our work heartily as unto the Lord, because we know that it is from Him that we will receive our reward, it can still become overwhelming and burdensome.
    Much emphasis is placed on speed and productivity, not because we are lazy, but because that is the demand that is made of us, so that we may keep the job.
    The people paying for the work want a perfect product and they want it done yesterday, or they'll find someone else to do it. Hence, it becomes much more difficult to enjoy what we're doing, and it makes it more difficult to delight in work well done because we often don't have the time to do it as well as we'd like.
    God however, has all the time so He does not have to worry about hurrying to meet somebody else's schedule. :D


Got some thoughts? Fire away. Please be polite, thoughtful, and kind! Please provide your name and, if applicable, website. Anonymous comments, along with all forms of spam, trolling, and personal attacks, will be deleted.