Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Go to the Ant...

A Devotional by Margot

Hebrews 6:12  

"That ye be not slothful, 
but followers of them 
who through faith 
and patience 
inherit the promises. 
Several years ago as a homeschool mom I found out about NanoWrimo. (National Novel Writing Month) The goal is to write 50,000 words for your novel in one month. You silence your inner editor and just write with abandon. Editing comes later. They have a young writers version that my younger son Cai will participate in again this year. He as an 11 year old is shooting to write 9000 words this month. My older son Niah is going to try to do the adult word count this year. They will write "Novels". Cai is calling his the Paradox and Niah has not got the name figured out yet. I've decided to participate as well, but I won't be writing a novel. I estimate that I already write about 25,000 words to do this devotional each month. What I'd like to do is, up my word count and build buffer of posts ahead. I may or may not actually hit the 50,000 but if I manage to get some posts ahead it will make getting through the holidays a bit easier. Three years ago I managed 30,000 some of what I wrote was the original buffer at the beginnings of this devotional project.  So there you have my "why" for taking on one more thing in my already busy life. 

I do have to say no to some things. I was asked to participate in a recovery ministry and did go to the first meeting. I like what they are doing and I know it will help a lot of people but I realize that my schedule is too full to really commit to being involved at this time. So last night I sent a note to the leader letting them know I would not be able to participate. There are a lot of good things out there to do but sometimes they are not meant for us but for someone else.  I have found that there are times when if I fill the need to do something the real person who was supposed to do does not rise up to take the opportunity.

Today I decided that the next two week don't really work for me to have my mosaics at the Farmers Market. This weekend I'm at at conference in Minnesota, and next week is the folk music festival that my family has enjoyed going to other years.  I found myself increasingly troubled and realized I needed to adjust some things.Today took down the mosaic display talked to the manager who was fine with my decision.

I have to constantly evaluate the things I take on to do to decide if they really fit into my bigger goals, calling and purpose. I have to ask the Lord is this something you want me to be doing or am I just doing stuff to keep busy to avoid dealing with my heart.  I admit sometimes that is the case and God is gracious to allow me to time to slowly process in my busy state. It sometimes takes me a while to put my finger on what the underlying issue is that I am avoiding dealing with.

I had an interesting discussion with one of my coaching allies about the defining the difference between laziness and tiredness because you need rest. She had an interesting place to draw the line. Laziness was the result of the fear of doing something. Tiredness on the other hand was a sign that you need to rest.

I did a concordance search on laziness or slothfulness and found quite a number of passages.

This first is one of my all time favorites. Some of the others I like as well. I know that there are some of you reading who have been hurt by people who have called you lazy. Perhaps you were paralyzed by a fear of some sort.

 Proverbs 6:6-11

6 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. 

9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.

Proverbs 10:26

As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes,

so it the sluggard to them that send him.

 Proverbs 15:19

The way of the sluggard is as a hedge of thorns;

But the path of the upright is made a highway.

It seems that originally the concept of sloth evolved from a word called acedia and was considered one of the 7 deadly sins.  The following is an excerpt from an article at Wikipedia that I found interesting
Main article: Sloth (deadly sin)

Over time, the "acedia" in Pope Gregory's order has come to be closer in meaning to sloth (Latin, Socordia). The focus came to be on the consequences of acedia rather than the cause, and so, by the 17th century, the exact deadly sin referred to was believed to be the failure to utilize one's talents and gifts.
Main article: Acedia

Acedia (Latin, acedia) (from Greek ακηδία) is the neglect to take care of something that one should do. It is translated to apathetic listlessness; depression without joy. It is similar to melancholy, although acedia describes the behavior, while melancholy suggests the emotion producing it. In early Christian thought, the lack of joy was regarded as a willful refusal to enjoy the goodness of God and the world God created; by contrast, apathy was considered a refusal to help others in time of need.

When Thomas Aquinas described acedia in his interpretation of the list, he described it as an uneasiness of the mind, being a progenitor for lesser sins such as restlessness and instability. Dante refined this definition further, describing acedia as the failure to love God with all one's heart, all one's mind and all one's soul; to him it was the middle sin, the only one characterized by an absence or insufficiency of love. Some scholars[who?] have said that the ultimate form of acedia was despair which leads to suicide."

As Christians we are called to not be sluggish, but to imitate those who by faith and patience inherit the promises of God.  Hebrews 6:12 It is the growth of virtue or Christian character that puts and end to laziness. I think it is interesting in the passage above that it is thought to be a result of the absence or insufficiency of love.   I suppose the lack of love would lead one to not care and to become apathetic or lazy or slothful. Good news if this is something you struggle with. We serve a God who is LOVE and He wants to reach in to that deep place in your heart and bring the healing you so desperately want and fear at the same time. He want to set you free but it will take a step of faith to believe that He indeed loves you and truly wants to help you and set you free from your present bondage.  There are likely some things that God has called you to do or be, or perhaps that gifts that you have left un used.  It may be fear that keeps us from using them, self doubt, unbelief, a feeling that we don't deserve such favor in our lives. If that is the case seek God and repent for burying your talent whatever it may be. Ask God to help you begin to use it to bless others, to extend the influence of His Kingdom.


Dear Lord,

I pray you will pour out your love into those deep places of hurt. To help us to forgive the harsh words that others have spoken over us. Help us to forgive those who have un-named us and caused us to become apathetic. Help us to begin to grow in virtue and character that the sin of slothfulness or laziness would be a decreasing thing in our life. I pray for those who have been called lazy and as a result have gone over board to prove those words as wrong. Even in the most seemly productive there may be a bitter root that drives one on and on to exhaustion. Above all give us each wisdom to deal with the sin in our own lives and to desire to develop character and virtue in our lives. Not that we would by being better win your favor but out of thankfulness for all that you have provided.

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