The Danger of Random
Janet and I spent the day today with our friends, Steve and Patty. We live next door to them in Carmel, and always enjoy their company. So when we had the chance to come to Hilton Head and visit them, we jumped at the opportunity. Throughout our lives, we have noticed that it is a rare occurrence when both wives and both husbands get along, but this is the case with our friends. So, as it turned out, the ladies spent the day together; they had plans to meet another friend, Dorothy, who now lives here, along with Pat, Dorothy’s mother. This has become something of an annual event, so Steve and I went on our way and left the ladies to their day.
We didn’t have anything special planned; we stopped by a clothing store that was moving, had lunch on the deck at the local Hilton, drove around looking at expensive properties that we have no intention of buying, stopped by the Starbuck’s to buy ground coffee, then the Walgreen’s to get something, back to the Starbuck’s to buy brewed coffee, back to Steve’s place to check on the ladies and their bridge game; then off to the public beach club to watch the people, pick up listing sheets at the local real estate office for all the expensive properties we have no intention of buying, then back again to Steve and Patty’s.
After sitting a while, the four of us decided to go to dinner, a local place, then to Publix for groceries, back for several hours of bridge together, dessert, and finally, the trip back to our Marriott hotel where Janet and I are staying. I think we are considering going to the outlet stores tomorrow. All the while, I enjoyed Steve’s company, and I daresay, he enjoyed our time together as well. We were both on phone calls; rarely at the same time, but it didn’t make any difference to either of us. No schedule – just hanging out – no plans, just whatever happened to come across our paths.
Now some of you might be thinking that this was a great day, and it was! But too many days in a row like this, and neither Steve nor I would like it. Because the days just seem to melt together. It has nothing to do with our friendship, but it does have to do with being intentional and living with purpose. It would be easy give up some of the disciplines that I have created for myself, and it is certainly possible that I could become less focused on the important issues. When I am home, I am much more efficient with my time, but on vacation, it doesn’t seem to matter.
And while Janet and I are having a great time, I realize that next week I have to get back in the saddle and live in reality. And that is just fine with me. Because I know myself, and once I am out of the groove, it is too easy to lose focus. You know, idle hands are the devil’s workshop. And that’s not just some invented phrase. It comes straight out of the Bible.
We are cautioned in 1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” In other words, be intentional about your actions and your faith. Because Satan is lurking around every corner trying to take us out of the game of spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. If we can be distracted, and not worry about our faith and our commitment to Jesus Christ, then that is one less person who is promoting the Kingdom of God on earth.
And that is not what being Christian is all about. Christ wants us to focus on the important things, to love one another with unswerving loyalty and to promote a Christ-like behavior in this world. So while we rejoice in the periodic times that we can slow down and take life as it comes, be aware that these are the times that can really try our faith. It can be easier to forget to pray, or to take time to help another distressed person, or to think about Christ.
So my encouragement today is to spend a little time focusing on God and realizing that you are an important part of His grand plan. God may want you to be happy (although it does not say that anywhere in the Bible), but it is much more important for you to be holy. And that means that Christ comes first. You have been set aside for something wonderful, and my prayer today is that you will discover what that thing is! So rejoice in the Lord – always; and stay alert, being ever mindful that it is easy to be distracted from your responsibilities as a child of God.