“Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well” (Ecclesiastes 11:6, NIV).
“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us” (2 Thessalonians 3:6, NIV).
In case you have not figured it out yet, today I am writing about idleness. I began to think of this topic the other night when I really wanted to rebuke my technology-addicted friend for wasting way too much valuable time on the computer. But much to my surprise, the Holy Spirit quickly rebuked me instead. Yes, I was swiftly reminded (by that still, small voice we all know and love) of the wasted hours that I have spent throughout my lifetime immersed in a book.
What? A book? Reading is educational, a noble pursuit, right?
Plus, at this point in my life, I mostly read Christian books, both fiction and non-fiction. I occasionally throw in a re-read of a classic novel, a good, clean mystery, or perhaps a historic account of important times and places. Still, I admittedly read something every single day of my life, and I always have—except for those hectic years spent raising toddlers.
During those times, my reading consisted of morning-time kids’ devotions, bedtime Bible stories, or Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Oh, yes! My literary pickings were slim back then. But now, I read ferociously and constantly.
And evidently, Someone noticed! And He seemed to think my reading has become an idle distraction. Oh well. Forget my attempt to rebuke my friend. The shoe was now on my foot instead.
So, the Lord and I began a dialogue about my idleness. He gently reminded me that He has an exact account of the minutes I have spent reading when I could have been doing something much more productive for the Kingdom—like praying, perhaps, or serving others with a concerned phone call or a small gesture of loving kindness. I tried to imagine the totality of those reading minutes, but He graciously kept the stupendous number to Himself—for now.
Then, I began to think of others ways I have wasted precious, God-given time in my life. I recalled hours spent watching television, scanning Facebook or other social media, time wasted in idle gossip or complaining, and even time spent doing a much-needed chore when I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He had another, more important task for me to undertake.
What about you? If God did an audit of your time, the minutes spent thus far in your life, what would be the results? How many hours, how many minutes of your life would God count as wasted?
Think about it long and hard!
When you are done with this meticulous self-assessment, the ledger might frighten you. It might show scant few hours spent on truly important and everlasting pursuits. And remember that only those things done for Christ will last.
But here’s the good news: We still have time left. We still have this day to do something of eternal worth. We can commit this very moment (and every moment left) into God’s hand. We can ask the Spirit to guide us to the right person and the right task.
We can offer love, kindness, service, or simply words of encouragement to someone in need, someone who may not even know of the eternal clock that is ticking away. And also remember that one day with Jesus is worth a thousand years in His time keeping. So, use this day wisely. Do not eat the bread of idleness. Make this day count forever. Use this day for Christ.
Close that computer. Put down that book. Hang up that phone. Close your mouth. Open your eyes and ears. Listen and wait for His gentle urging, His timely assignment. This is your chance to change eternity. Get ready. The clock starts … now!