Now and Then

by Bob James

Do you want to commit the ultimate sin? You know the kind of sin I mean; the one that causes everyone else to recoil in horror. The kind that makes people skirt around you and do all they can to avoid you? Just do something, or be in a situation that is [shhh] boring. Yes, that seems to be society's ultimate sin today, creating boring situations.

Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13)

I know that this verse is not often tied to boredom, but it struck me while I was looking for something else. I can't tell you how many times I have heard my son describe a situation as "boring." When I ask why he is bored, I hear that there is nothing to do. I can't tell how many people I have heard in other parts of life describe something as "boring" as though they were pronouncing a death sentence.

Let me be honest, people who complain today about being bored make me want to scream. I guess the reason they are bored is that they have the impression that someone is supposed to entertain them. This in the midst of TVs, radio, stereos, compact discs, computers, video games, board games, books...and they can't find anything to do. Somehow, it seems to me that if a person is seeking entertainment, there is plenty around.

But does looking at this list bother you as much as it bothers me? So much of it is passive, isolated entertainment. Something entertains us using the work of others. Oh, I know there are sporting events and teams to be involved in, but for some reason, in general we have become a society that seeks to be entertained. We have almost become so passive in this process that we can't entertain a thought!

While the Bible doesn't condemn such entertainment, as I read it, it does suggest active work in the fields. As Christians there are things that we can do to avoid the boredom blues. Work around your church, visit a nursing home, help someone around the house, or work in a homeless shelter. If you want to serve, call a local non-profit organization and volunteer your time. The point is God calls us to a life of service, not one of being entertained. If you are feeling the pangs of boredom, look around you, see what needs to be done, and do it.

Prayer of Commitment: Teach us the joy of experiencing Your presence, Father, when nothing else seems to be happening. Remind us to seek You through a life of service to others, even as Jesus Christ our Lord did while He was on earth. We ask these things in Jesus' Name.

(NASB stands for the New American Standard Bible (c) 1975 by The Lockman Foundation.)

(c) 1997 by Bob James. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to distribute this article to others without charge as long as this notice is attached. This article may not be distributed commercially either individually or as part of any anthology without the express written consent of the author.


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