Monday, March 14, 2016

Luke 21:16-19 -- On Patience and Boredom

"In your patience possess ye your souls."
Luke 21:16-19

Patience is a hard one for us.  We are willing to wait, sure... but, um, are we there yet?  How much longer is this going to take?  :)  In this chapter Christ is talking about some serious patience.  Immediately before this, he says that some of his followers will be killed, and that we will be hated, but that we won't lose even a hair of our heads.  That hair of the head thing, since he already mentioned death, means he is talking about the resurrection.  That can require some extensive waiting.

So, how do we do it?  It's related to another big problem that we have in life... long-term thinking.  Seems we're often going for the immediate gratification... the instant win.  All of this scrimping and saving seems kind of blah.  I know!  The lottery, or better yet... just rob a bank, right?  We kind of ignore the odds, and make some ultra-poor choices sometimes.  So, in some ways these experiences are good.  We try the lottery and lose, or we rob the bank and get caught, or we experience the always-horrible consequences of whatever other short-sighted decision we made.  Thankfully sometimes these consequences give us the impetus to rethink our decisions, and we slowly start to change.  We decide to save some money rather than buying lottery tickets.  We decide that breaking the law might not actually be better than getting a job.  We see that our short-term choices ripped our lives up in some long-term ways.

Of course, sometimes we just give up and say, well, I screwed it up, might as well screw up some more.  So we rob another bank and invest it all in lottery tickets (or whatever it is).  The problem with giving up is that we eliminate the hope of the happier ending.  When we give up, we're essentially saying, I choose to be who I am now, forever.  Which, in case you hadn't guessed, is a really bad choice, considering the eternal progression thing... or even the continuing education thing.  Who we are today is going to go obsolete tomorrow.  We need to get with it, and upgrade. :)

And really, that is what patience is about.  It isn't about checking our watches or wondering how much further we have to go.  It's about now.  We chuckle when little kids say they are bored sometimes... they have all that time and all those toys, and to be bored has to take a serious lack of imagination.  Ha ha... but we're in the same boat.  We don't have as much time, and our toys are hopefully way cooler, but we still have that blind spot about right now.  There are so many things to do with these in between moments... so many things to say and so many things to plan or to become.  Are we so bored that we want to rush into old age?  In enough of a hurry to want to get to the Final Judgement early?

Today, let's learn from our hasty mistakes, and take time to think ahead, to do things right... to make the best decision for the long term.  Let's remember that we never have to be bored.  There is always something right now that we can do or say that will help us become more than we are, and help us move toward the Lord.  Let's avoid the larceny-and-lottery-ticket lifestyle, and instead possess our souls in patience.

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