DayBreaks for 08/27/19: A History of Boredom
NOTE: Galen is on vacation for the next couple weeks and may not respond to any comments until he returns on 9/9/19.
From the DayBreaks archive, August 2009:
I would have loved to be in the garden of Eden to observe the temptation. God had placed Adam and Eve in the garden with the instructions to tend to the garden and care for it. I don’t know what Adam and Eve were up to when the temptation took place, but I can’t help but wonder if they were being either lazy or bored – and fell prey to a sinister and subtle enemy as a result.
There has been a saying for as long as I can remember that says “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” It is true, I think. I know that when my mental faculties are fully engaged in some project or task, that I don’t have nearly as much opportunity to get distracted. As long as I am focused on something that is wholesome and productive, I don’t have time to get into as much trouble.
Marvin Olasky, in World (May 23, 2009) wrote an editorial titled “An Era of Insecurity”. He started off by quoting Soren Kierkegaard, who in a sardonic vein, commented that the history of the world is the history of boredom, which he called “the root of all evil…the gods were bored, therefore they created human beings.” Kierkegaard didn’t really believe that, but the point he makes about boredom is very real. The Bible, in the account of the garden, seems to even suggest the same thing when it notes that God saw that Adam was lonely and that it wasn’t a good thing. (Stop and think about that one for a moment, too – Adam had fellowship directly with God, and yet he was still lonely. I’m not sure what that says about Adam or us, but it is an intriguing thing to ponder!) Adam’s loneliness and boredom led to God creating Eve (although I’m sure God planned to do that all along). Is it possible that Eve’s boredom in the garden led to her “snake-listening?” Was boredom a factor in Cain’s murdering his brother, Abel? Was it partially boredom that led the residents of Babel to start working on a tower? If, in all those cases, they’d been busy doing what they were supposed to be doing, I doubt that they’d have had the time to get into as much mischief.
There are some who have said that boredom is America’s greatest danger. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it seems to be kids (and adults) who have nothing to do who get into the most trouble. Empty hands, empty minds – they contribute more than their fair share to trouble. If our minds are empty, they will find something to focus on. Perhaps that’s why Paul suggested to the Philippians the following: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. – Philippians 4:8 (KJV)
Consider your own life for a few moments. Aren’t you more prone to mischief when you’re alone and bored – or even when you are in a group, but bored? We’ve lost the discipline of meditation – of thinking on things that are worth thinking about – so instead we think about things that don’t deserve a moment’s reflection. And such is the stuff of temptation.
PRAYER: Keep us from empty minds and empty hands that would lead us into sin, Lord, and teach us to contemplate the wonder that You are and the beauty and richness of Your Word! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>