I am a husband and a father of four. Things are busy, and the majority of the time that “busy-ness” really is self-inflicted, despite the fact that I continually try to rationalize that it is not self-inflicted. I often ask myself if I am being too selfish when I sequester myself in my office for a while. And I find that it is quite easy to answer with “not really; I need my time.” But is that true? This answer is the lazy way out. Why take 20 minutes to read to the kids when I have blogs to read? Why sit and play with Legos when I have a web site to design? Or more personally, why read Ephesians or Titus when I have the second season of Lost sitting here, and an extra disk full of special features?
I need my time.
I believe that I can justly pin a good portion of today’s problems in Christendom on the distractions of this modern life. We are surrounded with distractions. Hebrews 12:1 warns us not only about laying aside “sin which clings so closely,” but also, and perhaps less obviously we are implored to lay aside “every weight.” I do find it interesting that the writer of Hebrews lists these two things separately; they are two distinct things. Serving at church, running to the store, mowing the lawn, washing the car, watching another movie, reading Arthur C. Clarke, answering the phone, checking email, running to the store (again), learning a new programming language; any of these can be distractions, weights, things that get in the way of a more real and personal relationship with Christ.
I am certainly not suggesting that playing Legos with Timothy is a “weight” or distraction that needs to be set aside. Rather, so many of the other things that I think are important, things that reduce the time I might otherwise invest wisely, are unbelievable weights. And the remarkable thing is that I seldom see these weights because of my selfishness! In fact, I actually relish carrying them. And that is a huge problem.
Am I really in a battle? Are there daily struggles that I should be involved in more? Or are the clash of swords and the yell of war too far away? Have I forgotten? Have I ever truly realized that this issue of following after or pursuing Christ is serious business? How earnest am I about training my children, and about fortifying against the worldview that is pushed mercilessly in every children’s movie? How serious am I about doing everything in my power to instill in their young, open minds the glory of Christ and what he has done for them and what he continues to do?
And so far the only answer I can hear, to my shame, sheepishly and faintly in the back of my mind, is “Not serious enough. Yet.”