Posted by: Tom Gaddis | May 1, 2009

Wasting Time

A few friends in the past week have asked, “What have you been doing with yourself while on sabbatical?” This question, predictable and innocent enough, tempts me to begin citing the number of books I’ve read, the scriptures memorized, or hours of study I’ve put in so I can justify the thirty days of sabbatical so far enjoyed.

Why do I feel the need to do this? After all, these are our friends and not Nazi interrogators. No, the problem isn’t with them, but it’s my head.

Like many of you I was raised on a steady diet of the American work ethic that drilled into me: “Be productive. Don’t be a slacker like your uncle. Quit wasting time!” This and other mantras haunt me and cause me to lose peace when I attempt to still myself for rest, reading, or praying. Have any of these shaped you and kept you back from living in His peace?

Like sands from the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.  Translated: “Tom, you’re lazy. Your life will become a dismal soap opera if you don’t get a job and prove your value to this world and Mom.”

Redeem the Time  Translated: “Tom, now that you’re a Christian you ought to be wisely spending the 1440 minutes each day that everybody on the planet has been granted—so get productive and start reading the Bible, praying, going to church, and witnessing. Hurry!”

Carpe Diem  Translated: “Tom, seize the fish, or day, or something (I don’t speak Latin). The idea here comes from those utilitarian Romans who didn’t waste any time conquering the world so it could be free. So, start pillaging.”

The One Minute Manager  Translated:  “Tom, in these fast paced days you need to manage your time better and you’ll be more productive, because the clock plays no favorites. However, if you fail to acquire these skills you will have nothing to show for the day, the week, or the sabbatical.”

Again, I’ve digressed and haven’t answered the question. The answer is that on my sabbatical I’m learning to waste time. I think I’m slowly coming to my senses that life is not about finishing our “To Do” lists and getting things done.

Life, as Jesus would have us live it, is about love, and sometimes love just ain’t an efficienct use of time. Playing with grandkids, paying close attention to your friends, listening to the anxieties of your neighbor, talking to God—each of these by our world’s standards isn’t all that important.

But consider this from Jesus: Does the way you spend your time reflect the greatest commandment: a love for God, for neighbor, and for self?

Selah, Tom

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Responses

  1. Having recently stepped out of a car going 60 mph for 2 hours, my body is still reverberating from the speed even though I now sit before my computer. It’s well past midnight and you’d think I’d be dead tired, but it doesn’t work that way for me . . .
    So here I am having just read your latest post, winding down with a few chuckles. I’ve always enjoyed your sense of humor. We do need a good laugh, more often than not! But as usual, you wind up with a good nugget to chew on.

    “I’m learning to waste time. I think I’m slowly coming to my senses that life is not about finishing our “To Do” lists and getting things done.

    Life, as Jesus would have us live it, is about love, and sometimes love just ain’t an efficienct use of time. Playing with grandkids, paying close attention to your friends, listening to the anxieties of your neighbor, talking to God—each of these by our world’s standards isn’t all that important.
    But consider this from Jesus: Does the way you spend your time reflect the greatest commandment: a love for God, for neighbor, and for self?”

    Amen, Tom, amen

  2. I liked the end Pastor Tom where you said:

    “Life, as Jesus would have us live it, is about love, and sometimes love just ain’t an efficienct use of time. Playing with grandkids, paying close attention to your friends, listening to the anxieties of your neighbor, talking to God—each of these by our world’s standards isn’t all that important.”

    Maybe when we go these other countries and we say oh they are on Africa Time, or India time, maybe they are on to something. I think there needs to be a balance between the way we do it and the way they do it. But definitely think we need to be more concerned with people than the next appointment that we need to get to.

    enjoy slacking off and doing nothing 😉

  3. Tom, I really agree with your take on “wasting time.” Since retiring from PG&E (well semi-retired since I still work refueling outages at Diablo) I have struggled with the answer to the question of what are I am doing with my time. I fear an honest answer will just sound boring and meaningless to those who work five or six days a week. I find that other retirees (and probably those who have taken a sabatical or two) usually don’t ask that question. In six years of retirement I’ve come to realize that having plenty of time to enjoy others, spend time with the Lord, take walks, or putter around home, etc. is not wasting time. Doing what others might call “nothing” is not wasting time.

    God bless and enjoy the rest of your sabatical

    Steve

  4. Hahaha! I’m stinkin’ loving this!

    With joy – and smiling with you.
    ~ m


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