Nowhere to Go and Nothing to Do

A couple weeks back I snuck out to the Hillsborough Circle K on my motorcycle to grab lunch. Although, as seems constant with any food I really enjoy, they've since stopped carrying the cheeseburger rolls I was trekking for…those midday runs are a nice break in a work-from-home day even if all I am rewarded with is ordinary hotdogs (minus the buns, thanks to my low carb diet).

Well, rewarded with hotdogs and the beautiful surroundings our gracious Lord has provided (something you experience far more directly on two wheels and with no vehicular enclosure).

Either way, as I was getting close to my target I passed a gentleman walking the other way on the side of the road. I really can't tell you much about him (I am no Sherlock Holmes), but the way he was strolling made me think, “Here is a guy who has…”

Nowhere to go and nothing to do.

Now, I don't know about you, but my life is so overflowing and my brain is so active, that the concept of walking somewhat aimlessly seems foreign. And yes, I may have misjudged the traveler and he might have been considering weighty matters as he walked to an important appointment…but if he isn't a good example, how about people you see in the area who are just sitting on their porches or doorsteps and watching traffic pass? Neighbors with…

Nowhere to go and nothing to do.

Which reminds me of a ditty that a local (whose name i do not recall) wrote where I grew up a bit north of here:

It's rainin' in Canaan,
Down by George's A.G.
We're snappin' suspenders,
And watcin' cars go bye-eye-eye…

Although “George's A.G.” is no longer the name of the market where Route 4, Route 118, and main street intersect, the song also communicates a state of….

Nowhere to go and nothing to do.

Is it wrong to sit around doing nothing without a care in the world? Is it wrong that I can't even watch a whole movie without surfing on my iPad?

Is it okay to be idle? Is it okay to be a workaholic?

I will admit, just like I am sometimes envious of people who have faith devoid of doubts, I also sometimes covet those whose schedules (and brains) allow them to just vegetate. But, who is in a better state?

If suddenly you had all kinds of free time, what should you do? Should you quickly fill it with one more activity? Should you slow down and smell the roses?

Proverbs 19:15 says, “Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger” (English Standard Version). Proverbs 6:9-11 says even more:

How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
  When will you arise from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
  a little folding of the hands to rest,
and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
  and want like an armed man.

Does that mean that type-A workaholics are right and our porch-dwelling townspeople are sinning by relaxing? Maybe, but other scriptures indicate it is good to slow down:

I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
  yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
  and meditate on your mighty deeds (Psalm 77:11-12).

Snapping suspenders on a rainy day might not be a bad use of time if, while the cars go by, we are thinking about the Lord. Not to mention, a whole book of the Bible is written by a man who filled his days to overflowing…only to come to conclusion all is vanity. Racing after work, or fun, or treasures is a waste.

I would suggest two things, however, as you consider how you schedule your life. First, we really do make time for what is important to us. Although that doesn't mean we should measure all the minutes to figure out what is most important (since work would probably win, yet we have to work in order to survive), your days reflect your character.

Second, if you honestly believe in the Christian God, then you shouldn't have a strong desire to take lots of vacations (and ultimately retire to a golf course). Everything here pales in comparison to what we will be given with Heaven, and how can you (or I) just sit around snapping our suspenders considering the fate of the lost? There is a reason Jesus didn't sneak in a month-long European vacation during his short period here on earth.

The book of the Bible I alluded to above, of course, was Ecclesiastes. After filling his life with all the wrong things, Solomon came to this conclusion at the very end of that book:

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

How we spend our days will be judged. Will you come up lacking?

Worse, when our neighbors' deeds are judged…and some come up short…will we find that we were (metaphorically) sitting in front of George's A.G. when we should have sharing the gospel with them? Will they cry out, “Why didn't you tell me?!”

When we die neither they, nor we, will have any choice on where we go or what we do. Let's be sure to choose wisely while we still do.

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Alan is an ordinary guy, living in a small, high plains Colorado town...and humbled to be a minister of God...

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