18 JULY 2017
There are things about each of my children that I admire greatly. I often tease them and tell them I want to be like them when I grow up. Lately, I've been pondering an aspect of one of them that I think the Lord is prompting me to "grow up" into. This particular child could play anytime and anywhere. I remember sitting her on the timeout stool facing a corner of completely blank wall when she was about four years old. She made imaginary pictures out of all the shapes in the wall texture and they all had a party together! (Yeah, timeout didn't work for this one.)
As irritating as that was, I find a gift in it. A gift that is able to take difficult situations and party in the middle of them. Too often my oh-so-adult mind says that I should finish all my work before I play. So many things are wrong with that!
First, is work ever done? Not in my world. So play becomes this perpetual mirage that I promise myself, but never quite experience.
Second, play somehow becomes another thing for me to do. I remember my hubby telling me one night as I was headed to a dance class, "Have fun!" Have fun? No comprendo! Unfortunately, the thing that had started out as a fun thing to do had become just another task on my schedule. I had sucked all the fun right out of it. Perhaps all our put on seriousness is just an insecure effort to validate ourselves.
Third, I don't think we are supposed to make life such a drudgery, full of "have-to's" and empty of "get to's." What if we are supposed to enjoy what we do and then do it wholeheartedly? Oh course, we are called to do things with excellence and determination and diligence, but does that have to equate to doing things with a long face and heavy heart?
Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10
So if your joy and zest for living seems stolen, if your ability to be happy and have fun in all situations seems destroyed, who do you think has done that? Is that the Lord or the enemy?
Regarding the word, "abundantly" in this verse, "The word denotes that which is not absolutely essential to life, but which is superadded to make life happy. They shall not merely have life - simple, bare existence - but they shall have all those superadded things which are needful to make that life eminently blessed and happy" (Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible).
I find it paradigm altering to learn that, "… the Jerusalem Talmud states that in the life to come a person must give an account of every good thing he might have enjoyed in this life and did not (Kiddushin 4:12). In the rabbis' view, not to enjoy every legitimate pleasure was in essence to be an ingrate before the Master of the Universe" (Marvin Wilson, Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Gordon College).
What a thought! Whatever gifts our Gracious Abba gives that we choose to not enjoy or turn into a chore is seen by Him as a slap in the face. So the next time you feel like life has put you in the timeout chair to sit in the corner, make the choice to party with what you've got!
"This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24