by Dave Hintz
It’s summer vacation. It’s the afternoon. It’s hot. And you’re bored out of your mind. So far you have watched two hours of game shows, the afternoon news, and a talk show. Further, you have received several invitations to enroll at various career colleges, contact accident attorneys, and buy household products that will make your life a breeze (presumably so you can watch more TV). A single word describes the state of your being – boredom.
Webster’s defines boredom as “the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest.” In my mind, the feelings of weariness and restlessness are a gift from God. They remind us that we should be doing something better with our time. Just like hunger pains have been given by God to remind us to eat, feelings of boredom have been given to remind us to work.
In Genesis 1:28 we read “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” In the context, we learn that God labored for six days, fashioning the land formations from dirt and the rocks, filling the earth with living creatures, and placing the celestial bodies in the heavens. Then, God decides to make a caretaker (Gen. 1:26). Not just any caretaker, but one created in the divine image (Gen. 1:27). He is to work as God works and rule as God rules. Thus, as we see in verse 28 Adam has been commissioned to rule the animal kingdom as well as subdue to the earth to perform his bidding. All of this requires effort, energy, and exertion. Man is to work hard in ruling and subduing the planet, just like God labored hard to create the planet.
God is a worker. Adam is his workmanship. And God made Adam to work. In the same vein, Ephesians 2:10 teaches, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” As a believer in Christ, your heart and soul have been recreated by your maker. And for what purpose? Work! You have a destiny ordained by God, which will only be fulfilled through expending effort, mortifying laziness, and willing yourself to work. That nagging feeling of boredom is a reminder that you should be doing something better with your time.
So now that you are convicted what do you do? Well, here are a few suggestions.
1. Read your Bible: If you have been created in Christ Jesus for good works, it would be helpful to know what those good works are, and for that matter how you should walk in them. For instance, the Bible teaches that you should, “Devote yourselves to prayer” (Col. 4:2). The commandment is clear: pray. How? According to the teachings and examples found elsewhere in the Word.
2. Serve in a Ministry: God has given you an individual destiny. The Holy Spirit has given you a spiritual gift. And God’s Word demands that you use it (1 Pet. 4:10). If you are not in a ministry, talk to an elder. Ask for their instruction and guidance, and seek to find a ministry which can best utilize your gifts. And do that ministry with absolute excellence. Don’t just check in on Sunday morning and check out. But pray for that ministry, think about that ministry, and plan for that ministry.
3. Get a Job: Colossians 3:23 Paul instructs slaves to “do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” In other words, when we work – no matter how utterly mundane our job may by, it gives glory to God. I know from experience that one of the darkest times in my life occurred when I had to leave the mission field for six weeks to have reconstructive knee surgery. For the first two weeks, I wasted away watching TV and lounging around the house. I was bored, and I longed to work again. A job gives your life structure. Labor itself helps you mortify the sin of laziness. It prevents your mind from wandering to ungodly places. On top of it all, it fattens your wallet. Job should not be dreaded, but enjoyed as they manifest godliness. If you want to be like God, you need to try to work like God.
Boredom is a blessing. But it is only a blessing if it gives you a sour taste for the sin of laziness, if it causes you to look for deeper meaning in life and if it stirs your heart to change. May your boredom lead you to the blessing of work. And in laboring, may you taste its sweet reward.
If it were not for labor, men could neither eat so much, nor relish so pleasantly, nor sleep so soundly, nor be so healthful, so useful, so strong, so patient, so noble, nor so untempted. - Jeremy Taylor, 17th century English bishop.