“All of man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone” – Blaise Pascal
“A man who dares to waste an hour of his life has not discovered the value of life” – Charles Darwin
I haven’t really been bored in years. When I was younger I was bored all the time. I’m not sure what the change has been. It’s not that I’m busier now. Although over the last 4 years I was extremely busy, as of late I’ve had a lot of time on my hands – especially since moving to Ohio. Yet I’m not bored. I can spend hours entertained by my own reflections. I’m not sure I’ve been using my time as efficiently as I could be though, and I hear the complaints of the bored all around me. This article is a response to those complaints as well as a way for me to identify how I can better use my limited time.
I see boredom as a gift from God in the same way that hunger, thirst, and pain are. They are indicators that something is wrong. If I didn’t feel hunger I could starve to death without ever knowing something was wrong. Without feeling pain, I might not know I was dying of cancer or being impaled. These indicators keep us alive and healthy. Same goes for boredom. God didn’t create us to do nothing. He created us to do something. So when we do nothing or meaningless things, something is wrong and boredom can serve as an indicator. It is a hunger to do something meaningful.
Men succeed at battling this gift of boredom with an array of meaningless pastimes such as television, playstation, parties, internet, sports, and so many other things. None of these things are sins. They’re not wrong in and of themselves, but Christians are so occupied with not sinning, as if God created us for the sole purpose of not sinning. God created us for more than that. He created us to do certain things that bring Him glory. Christians may think of a good Christian life as one devoid of “serious sins” or excessive sinning, but the enemy’s strategy in this day and age may be a lot cleverer than getting us to sin. Filling all of our time with so many different things that are useless to the Kingdom and our purpose is just as great an accomplishment for the enemy as tempting us into sin. Either way we are not doing anything real. We’re not serving our purpose. We are merely existing and silencing any indication that something is wrong.
I hope realizing this awakens others the same way it awakened me. It is a call to arms. I was wasting my life. I was born for more than not sinning. I was born for more than my own entertainment. I was born for more than being nice and good and socializing and living a “full” life by worldly standards. The Bible says that “to live is Christ”. Life is about Him. Any other way of living other than that defined by the life of Christ is simply not life. So boredom is a gift and for most of my life I felt it and treated it the wrong way – by covering the symptom without addressing the root cause. I’d shut it up with countless games or activities or hobbies. It was just like drinking water and getting thirsty again. But Christ promised that if I drink of Him I wouldn’t thirst again, so why was I still thirsting?
That all leads to this – what should I be doing then? There’s nothing else to do right? Wrong. The Bible is not silent. When I looked in the Bible to see what I should be doing with my time, it gave me endless tasks. I now feel there is not enough time to do the things the Lord God has called us to do for his Glory. There is so much to be done and so little time.
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today…” - Hebrews 3:13 – Do you encourage people? Do you do it daily? Call someone now just to encourage them. You can start with me if you need some practice.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – These are things the Bible tells us to be doing continually, all the time, even right now.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching”. – Hebrews 10:24-25 – Again, encourage. Meet together. I don’t know about you but I love seeing people face to face. I hate long distance. So call someone up and go see them just to encourage them in the Lord, not for the sole sake of socializing or passing time.
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” – Matthew 7:12 – What is something other people do that makes you happy? I like it when people call me out of the blue just to say hello, or comment or like my photos or statuses on facebook. I know it sounds dumb, but I do that for other people because if I like it you probably do too. Think of some things you like and do them for other people (daily).
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19,20 – Simply spread the word. It doesn’t mean you have to force Jesus into every conversation and down everyone’s throats, but simply love and serve in ways that only Jesus did. People notice.
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’” – Matthew 25:35,36 – Feed someone or buy them a drink, get to know the new guy and invite him over or out sometime, clothe and look after the homeless, visit the sick and imprisoned. Christ considers these things you are doing for Him directly.
“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:11,12 – I can’t comment much because the Lord is teaching me this one right now. How to be quiet and mind my own business – still got a long way to go.
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” - Luke 9:23 – Here’s another verse with the word “daily”. This is something Christ expects us to do every day. Today I’ve got to deny myself, die to sin and my old ways, and follow.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.” – Philippians 4:8,9 – The Bible is not even silent about what we should be thinking bout. What kind of things do I think about?
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. – 1 Timothy 4:12,13 – I find the second part of this passage funny. When have you seen Christians devoting themselves to public reading of Scripture? Maybe you know someone who does this, but I’m kind of behind in my public Scripture readings.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 and “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossian 3:17 – Everything else. I could’ve started with this one, but then I wouldn’t have filled all this space. Do everything for the Lord, even the most mundane things. If you use those pastimes I mentioned above for the Lord, they can be a blessing instead of a curse. If there’s something you can’t do for the Lord, don’t do it.
I found more verses than I thought I would. The Bible is full of so many more passages on things we could be doing. It’s complete. Living these things is more fun and excitement than I ever had doing my own thing. I hope this didn’t bore you. That would defeat the purpose.