Overcoming Boredom – Part 2 – Hope 103.2

Overcoming Boredom – Part 2

Even the most mundane task is worthwhile if we do it in the right spirit. Martin Luther said that a dairymaid can milk cows to the glory of God. If your job is shovelling manure, then do your best and shovel that manure for the glory of God. And if you do it well, you […]

By Chris WittsMonday 6 Aug 2018Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 6 minutes

Even the most mundane task is worthwhile if we do it in the right spirit. Martin Luther said that a dairymaid can milk cows to the glory of God. If your job is shovelling manure, then do your best and shovel that manure for the glory of God. And if you do it well, you honour God just as much as the brain surgeon who saves someone’s life.

Ways to Overcome Boredom (Cont.)

We all struggle with this on one level or another. Society tells us that some jobs matter more than others. Certainly some jobs pay more than others and some jobs gain much more praise than others. It’s easy to fall into the trap of saying, I hate my job. I don’t feel good. I don’t like the place where I work. I’m surrounded by jerks. My boss hates me. The woman next to me is a big meanie. The pay is lousy. No one likes me. And besides, I’ve got a bad cough and a headache.

And the biblical answer is: Grow up! You’re not supposed to like your job every day. It’s not supposed to be fun all the time. That’s why they call it work. If work was supposed to be fun all the time, it would be spelled f-u-n. Many days you won’t feel like going to work, and if you go, you won’t enjoy it. Big deal. Go anyway. Do what you have to do. And do it with all your heart. Put your passion into your job and see what happens.

Think about again the text from Ecclesiastes—it does not say, Do it with all your might if you feel like it, or Do it with all your might if you enjoy it, or Do it with all your might if they treat you right. God says, Do it with all your might even when you don’t feel like it, you don’t like it, and you don’t want to be there. And then leave everything else in my hands.

There is a huge theological truth underlying this principle. If you believe in the sovereignty of God, then it must be true that you are where you are because God wants you to be there, because if God didn’t want you to be there, you would be somewhere else. But since you are where you are right now, that must be because you are there by God’s design and when he wants you to be somewhere else, that’s where you’ll be. If you believe that, then you can do your work each day, even in a very bad situation, as unto the Lord, with all your might, for his glory.

b. Pondering the brevity of life
Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “…For in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” Not everyone likes to hear this part of the verse because it’s depressing—who wants to hear that they are going to the grave? That’s a fact we’d all rather ignore. I found a different translation of this verse in the Contemporary English Version: “Work hard at whatever you do. You will soon go to the world of the dead, where no one works or thinks or reasons or knows anything.” It is entirely true whether we like it or not. We’re all going to the land of the dead sooner or later.

There’s the old hymn “Softly and Tenderly” that says:

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Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
Passing from you and from me;
Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
Coming for you and for me.

I realise it’s not very fashionable today to say words like these—but they are true nonetheless. Life is not a dress rehearsal. We only get one chance to do whatever we’re going to do on planet earth. Soon enough, sooner than we think, our moment will be over.

On that terrible day, September 11, 2001, after the planes hit the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, millions of people picked up the phone to call each other. Parents called children, brothers called sisters, friends called friends, long-lost relatives called to make sure everyone was OK. One of the ironies of it all is that it takes a tragedy to force us to face the brevity of life.

The point is, do whatever you’re going to do now. If you intend to do some good deed, do it now. If you have some great plan, work on it now. If you intend to do something or be something or try something, do it or be it or try it now. You don’t have time to be bored. Martin Luther said a man should live with the day of his death placarded before his eyes. Luther managed to turn the world upside down. Would that we had the same realistic view of life and death.

c. Remembering you represent Jesus in everything you do
Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus”. The New Living Translation puts it this way: “And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus.”

What if you had to sign your name to everything you said and everything you did? Suppose that somehow a name-tag were attached to every one of your actions—good and bad—so that everyone could see who did it! Sometimes we are sloppy about what we say and do precisely because we don’t think anyone notices what we are doing. Let’s take this a step further. What if Jesus had to sign his name to everything you say and everything you do? For every careless word, the name ‘Jesus Christ’ was attached. And for every careless complaint, the name ‘Jesus Christ’ was attached. That might stop us in our tracks if we thought his name was attached to our words and our deeds.

If you are a Christian listening to me today, you call Jesus ‘Master’, ‘Saviour’, and ‘Lord’. Wherever we go we represent him. We like to say that Jesus is the light of the world, and he is. But we are also the light of the world. As the saying goes, we’re the only Bible some people will ever read, and we’re the only Jesus some people will ever see.

d. Being thankful for things large and small
There is one final way to avoid boredom—by cultivating a thankful heart in all the circumstances of life. Colossians 3:17b says, “Giving thanks to God the Father through him.” It’s amazing how well this correlates with the context of Ecclesiastes 9. If you go back and read verses 6-9, you discover that the writer urges us to enjoy the simple pleasures of life: You’re going to die soon so … enjoy your food and drink (v. 7), dress up and smell good (v. 8), enjoy your wife and the pleasures of married life (v. 9).

All these things are gifts from God. They are simple pleasures—food and drink, nice clothes, a happy marriage. This is taking pleasure in the daily blessings of God.

Folk singer Joan Baez once remarked, “You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die, or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live now.”

If you are bored, it is because you have chosen to live a boring life. Boredom is not an issue of bad circumstances. It’s a disease of the soul caused by excessive self-focus. And it comes from being overstimulated and under-committed. Life is never boring when you commit yourself 100% to Jesus Christ.

Are you bored with life? Get out of yourself and make a new commitment to the Lord. Reach outside yourself to help someone less fortunate and your perspective on life will radically change. Boredom is a warning sign that we are living for self when we ought to be living for God.