My husband and I had just ended a quite-active weekend of hosting our youngest grandson. After weaving together a steady and exhausting variety of activities throughout the 48-hour period, it was pretty clear that his overall expectation of life’s goodness could be fairly well summarized by 3 phrases: entertain me, entertain me more, and entertain me with something new.
For a four year old, of course, that’s nothing unusual. Then I chuckled and felt like the Lord gave me a playful finger poke through the Spirit as I mused to myself, That really isn’t such an unusual attitude even among people in the above-four crowd...and what about the above-twenty-four crowd….or thirty-four….or forty-four?
I stopped there. Any farther and that age will start getting too-close-for-comfort to my own. It’s just a fact: the entertain-me mindset does not necessarily end with the arrival of a fifth birthday. Given today’s American culture, I suspect that a relatively small number of people would even dispute that pervasive influences both nurture and support a ready acceptance of shallow-and-never-ending distractions. Cradle-to-grave rabbit-trails, you could say.
But there is a second edge to this issue to consider, rather like taking the time to thoroughly examine the full blade of a two-edged sword. And it has to do with destiny.
I believe that as a people chosen of God, a people for God’s own possession according to the Apostle Peter, we are doing ourselves — and the Father who loves us and adopted us in to fellowship/relationship with Himself, the Son and the Spirit — a great disservice when we dally on any of these random trails for any length of time. Phrased more simply, we are allowing ourselves to be cheated. And this being cheated results in our either carelessly or deliberately disowning vital elements of our divine inheritance, that experience of the abundant life into which we were intentionally included.
For just a moment, think Samson: “Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he was a grinder in the prison.” (Judges 16:21)
It’s unlikely most of us feel like “grinders.” But the concept of circling…and circling…and circling…devoid of vision or sense of moving into any sort of “destiny” is certainly one to which we can each relate to some degree.
If we are focusing our time and energies on examining the multiple distractions built into the corridor walls as we wander aimlessly through them, imagine the potential treasures we will never discover as a result. Some may lie right at our feet. We may kick them away as if they were a stumbling block. There will be multiple treasures a in the distance that we won’t even try to look for. Discovering treasure takes strategy, hard work, time, appropriate tools, persistence, insight, and — more times than not — a map and a faith that some type of substantial reward or discovery is ahead. Treasure hunters are people who expect good things from the undiscovered, the bewildering, the mysterious.
The book of James shares a sober perspective in the words, “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14)
Rather than shrugging off the limitation of time allotted to us, we should seek to hear the voice of Wisdom as she cries out to us regularly. Let our lives embody both His caution and His boldness as we choose to sojourn, “not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Eph. 5:15-17) The Passion Translation phrases these words, “So be very careful how you live, not being like those with no understanding, but live honorably with true wisdom, for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for his purposes. And don’t live foolishly for then you will have discernment to fully understand God’s will.”
The foolish life is preoccupied — and perhaps even consumed — with thoughts of entertain me…entertain me more…and entertain me with something new…
Paul taught, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10) Another phrasing of this verse reads, “We have become His poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny He has given to each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One.” (The Passion Translation)
Poetry…in a world of poorly-structured and mis-stated sentences. Let our choices always be mindful of the fact that we are indeed joined to Jesus.