Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Value of Being Lazy

My sermon for July 22nd was based on Mark 6:30-56.

If I told you you were lazy for having a good night's sleep last night, if I called you greedy for eating breakfast this morning, or if I told you you were selfish for wearing clothes today rather than giving them all to the poor, you would likely think (quite rightly) that I was a lunatic.

A simple fact exists: we need to care for ourselves in order to care for others.  You can't use energy to help others if you yourself have no energy.  You can't feed others if you are starving.  You can't give someone the shirt off your back if you are not wearing one.  This is not selfish.  It is not even self-interested.  It is self-care.

But many of us have great difficulty doing that.  Many of us, myself included, work ourselves to exhaustion, making ourselves spiritually and indeed physically ill in the process.  We have trouble resting, relaxing and refreshing ourselves because we feel like we are "doing nothing", and we feel that that is lazy and self-indulgent.

I would like to encourage you to be "lazy" every once in while, and there is ample Biblical precedent for it.

In today's Gospel passage, Jesus calls his Disciples to "come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while".  This piece of advice comes after Jesus has sent them all out into the Galilean countryside to teach, preach and heal.

The Disciples had been busy, and I think Jesus could tell that.  He could also tell when they needed a break, and he calls them to do so.

We all need a break and rest sometimes, whether it is to get our nightly sleep, to get over an illness, to regain our spiritual strength, or just to veg out and do nothing.  Heck, even God needed to rest on the seventh day.  If God needed a rest, how much more do you and I need to rest?

I have always been intrigued by the word "recreation", which most people seem to think is the opposite of work.  I consider it to be a necessary corollary, literally taking the time to "re"-"create" the energy we need to go out there into the world and do our jobs.  It is a necessary part of our lives because all that energy doesn't just come from nowhere.

Today, be lazy.  It's summer, take a nap in a hammock, play with the kids, watch a dumb movie, pray, meditate, putter in the garden, go to the beach.  Do whatever it is you do to recharge your batteries, because the world needs you at your best.

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