It is a terrible thing to laugh and play while all around war is raging. It is a foolish thing to stop your ears with music, sarcasm, and general noise when gun shorts ring all about you. Is it not equally terrible and foolish to have not a thought about the dread destiny of the people with which we interact daily? How dare we replace the solemn grandeur of God’s call upon our lives with small and passing things!
The last four days of my life have been spent living at our church with about 25 junior and senior high students, as well as several leaders for Missions Brainerd, a short local missions trip that emphasizes serving around our home cities.
We’ve done everything from landscaping at a local camp for the mentally handicapped, doing yardwork for an elderly woman who attends Lakewood, visiting nursing homes, and even playing a bit of paintball for fun on the last night. Overall it’s been an awesome trip and I’ve enjoyed being a leader and working with the students, but through all of it I’ve had one thread of frustration run. There seems to be a great lack of seriousness and depth to this group of students and leaders, a thing that I see as a problem throughout most of my generation (by “my generation” I mean people ranging from mid twenties down to early teens). We all laugh easily and have plenty of fun, perhaps we even talk a bit about our devotional time when we get together during the designated small group discussions, but it all seems to be so light and frivolous outside of those scheduled “spiritual” times.
At first I was only frustrated with others on the trip, but it didn’t take God long to turn a mirror back on me and allow me to see that I myself am far too easily swept away by those same attitudes of frivolity and carelessness. It seems to be Satan’s great ploy, in league with our wayward flesh and hearts, to simply keep us from dealing with the weighty things. Somehow we are completely fine living as if entertainment and games were more serious than life and death or heaven and hell.
Surely, I have been born to a weak, feeble, and wayward generation! Spiritual things – the real things – are seen as nothing more than a breath of air. God’s Word is given naught but a passing glance. How can only a few minutes of light rain grow anything but a small and sickly tree? We trade deep, meaningful discussion and study for laughter and silliness. How can a man grow strong when he spends no time training? Does not the Word say that it is this life which is but a vapor? (Psalm 39:5) It is the spiritual that is deep and eternal. Do not be so quick to pass it off.
If only we could see just how far reaching every one of our acts is perhaps it would sober this generation and bring us down from the wispy, worthless heights of earthly passions. If we could but understand that our choice now to engage in this relationship will shape our future marriage; that our choosing to not practice self control at this moment will perhaps lead to a complete lack of it ten years from now; that every one of our choices, no matter how miniscule, builds upon itself to create massive changes in our lives. There is no small matter in the human life. It is, as C.S. Lewis called it, “The Weight of Glory.”
Yes, there are times for laughter and for silliness, but we cannot afford to allow such things to overshadow the fullness of what we live for. Ours are lives that hang in the balance between heaven and hell; shall we not pay attention to the choices we make? Surely, it is a thing more pressing than we like to imagine. So seriously dude. Open your eyes and understand just how big of a thing that it is to be a human and live a life that is built upon something more than the commonplace entertainment of our day.
“Let them remember there is meaning beyond absurdity. Let them be sure that every little deed count, that every word has power, and that we can – every one – do our share to redeem the world in spite of all absurdities and all frustrations and all disappointments. And above all, remember that the meaning of life is to build a life as if it were a work of art.”
– Rabbi Abraham Heschel (as quoted in The Ascent of a Leader)