The Gentle Art of Goofing off

When I was a kid, I was a champion goof-off. (Still am, sometimes, for things I don’t want to do).

Daddy’s garden stood as the summit of things that the little boy that I was tried to stay far away from. If he wanted a garden, that was okay, but why drag me into it? My parents and grandparents abused me. They MADE me work in that garden.

“You’ll want to eat those vegetables when it all grows up, so you’ve got to work now.” Hah! Onions! Green beans! Tomatoes! Who would want to eat stuff like that? Now if gardens grew Snickers candy bars …

All the same, when people are bigger than you are, you do what you’re told, though you don’t have to like it and you don’t have to do it whole-heartedly. So you’d find me scowling under the hot sun,  pulling on stubborn weeds and wishing with all my heart for a baseball game. That was something worth exerting all your energy for.

But tomatoes? Get serious! Only an adult could dream that a tomato would be worth working for.

There was an exception to this attitude. Early spring, when the plow gutted the winter earth, the soil sprouted worms—ladies, you should have seen them! Big, squirmy, slimy, wonderful earthworms. Now, I didn’t like them for their looks or their feel but when I seized one from the fresh ground I dreamed of the big, big FISH, that I hoped to entice with that nasty worm.

So, even gardens possess redeeming points. I’m glad they didn’t pay me judged on how I worked in that garden, though. I would have ending up owing them money.

Did you know that one day God is going to judge us for the way we work down here?

 “Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.” (1 Peter 1:17, NIV).
This is not a judgement for eternel salvation but He considers our work and rewards us based on how we did what He told us to do. Especially our faith and our attitude.

“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Cor. 3:10-15, NIV)

Late last year, a 12-story residental building in Egypt collapsed, killing over 30 people. According to Reuters New Agency, “It was constructed as a seven-storey building in 1982 without a permit, authorities said. The owner obtained a permit later but then illegally added five storeys.”

Autorities issued warrants for the arrest of several persons connected with the collapse. Somebody didn’t do their work correctly—shoddy and illegal is more descriptive.

I’m glad daddy didn’t issue a warrant to call me to task about how I worked in his garden. He even let me eat the peas and beans that came out of it. (I still had to pick them and shell them!)

One day, God will take a hard look at how we’ve worked for Him. Then we’ll be rewarded or simply see everything we spent our whole life for go up in eternal smoke.

Maybe TODAY would be a good day to take a hard look at your life. What are you using most of your energy for? To accomplish God’s will for you life with all your heart? Or to make more money, or have more fun, or be more important, or more well thought of, or to feel sorry about your lot in life, or …

Better to judge ourselves now that to see all our efforts come tumbling down before God like that building in Egypt.

“But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.” (1 Cor. 11:31, 32, NIV)


John Wimber once said, “God offends the mind to expose the heart.” (from Lynn Chandler)

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