“I’m bored!”

In many households and in our culture at large, this has become a cardinal sin–even if it’s unspoken.

On the surface, our national boredom does not make sense.  Most of our cable systems offer us from 24 to more than 224 channels.  If being entertained is our highest goal, there’s a channel for almost every imaginable interest or channels to revisit the world of nostalgia when many people found greater meaning. (Personally, nostalgia is overrated, it makes us immediately devalue the present and things in the past are always better in our memory than they were when we were experiencing them first-hand).

The world of technology is constantly inventing a new toy to capture our imaginations, each news cycle creates something new for us to debate over coffee or on Twitter and Facebook.   And if you don’t find anything there to stimulate you, get your video cam and make something you can send to America’s Funniest Home Videos.  Who knows, you might win the $10,000 prize so that you can have money to spend and be further bored with your life.

Boredom is not a sin, and certainly not a deadly one (despite what your teenager may say almost every day.) How we respond to boredom, however, may say something about the presence of sin in our lives. What is the source of our boredom?

Part of it may be our tendency to think that it’s all about us.  The universe owes us stimulation and entertainment.

Part of it may be our addiction to adrenalin.  Things are only valuable if they get us “pumped” and after while being pumped becomes our goal–not the value of our activity.

Part of it may be our discontent with life in general.  We would be quick to agree with Solomon, “Meaningless, meaningless, all is meaningless.”

Perhaps we need to be agreeing with the apostle Paul, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Actually, Solomon followed his observation with the prescription for a life of meaning, where boredom cannot come in and rob and steal.  “He has set eternity in our hearts … He makes all things beautiful in its time.”

The whole quote goes like this … “I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him..” – Ecclesiastes 3.10-14

It is my experience that when we live with eternity in our heart and our eyes fixed on God’s working in and through us, even boredom can be a time of strength and satisfaction.  Sometimes the work God is doing seems boring but only when I am a spectator looking for stimulation instead of a servant living in His significance.
So the next time you are bored, to paraphrase Henry Blackaby, see what it is God is doing and go do it with Him.
(C) 2012 by Stephen L Dunn

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