Or So They Say
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
Or so they say...
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy is a proverb. It means that without time off from work, a person becomes both bored and boring. Though the spirit of the proverb had been expressed previously, the modern saying appeared first in James Howell’s Proverbs in English, Italian, French and Spanish (1659), and was included in later collections of proverbs.
The Bible has much to say about working and resting from our work. As soon as Adam and Eve are expelled from Paradise, Adam is told that he and his progeny must work the ground. Some generations later, God commands a day of rest from our labors — and not just humans, but animals as well, are to rest one day a week (such as a workhorse, an oxen, a mule, etc.)
Work is given a different connotation when we are exhorted to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” –Philippians 2:12 (KJV). That is one thing I am sure we are never to cease doing for any length of time. Just as we are admonished to “Pray without ceasing.” –1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV).
Even outside of Biblical context we understand that we must earn a living if we are physically and mentally capable; so that we do not become a burden to society or even to ourselves. Besides, putting in a good day’s work can be extremely rewarding; no matter if our employment is physically and/or mentally laborious. Failure to engage in gainful employment often times results in criminal or other harmful behavior.
There are many aspects of our lives that require dutiful attention, whether the reward is monetary or otherwise. For example, we must work at learning to crawl before we can walk. We must learn to speak the language of our homestead. We must learn basic skills, both social and practical, to the best of our ability. Failure to do so results in our being left behind and left out of activities that we see others engaging in and enjoying.
The same holds true regarding our spirit. If we fail to nurture and grow spiritually, we find ourselves disconnected and spiritually alone. Just as we need to be gainfully employed in order to enjoy the fruits of our labor, so we must apply ourselves to our spiritual health and growth. Failure to do so results in complacency and discontentment; which is a detriment to all other aspects of our life. The difficulty lies in our awareness of our spiritual condition, as often times our attention is focused on our circumstances, rather than our spiritual well-being. We often think that if we could simply ascertain a certain situation or procure some object of desire, that all would be well, both within and without.
HOPEFULLY, we have learned from past experience that worldly success can never satisfy the spiritual longing of our heart. This is because we are made in the image of God. Therefore, “Creature Comforts” can never satisfy our greatest desire — which is to know and be known by our Creator, the I AM of life as we know it.
HOPEFULLY, prior to taking our last breath, we honestly come to know and understand that our greatest need is our need for God; and that our greatest desire is to become one with the Christ, as he is one with Our Father (See John 17:17-23).
Of course, just as we get tired of earthly employment, so do we tend to grow weary of trudging along on our spiritual pilgrimage to maturity in Christ. That is when we are most susceptible to the outside influences that seek to distract and derail us from our course. No one can snatch us from the hand of God, but by the same token, we can become so confused and bewildered that we lose all hope of ever getting back on track and simply give up and give out – just as Elijah did. (See 1 Kings 19:1-18)