Tag Archives: Fourth Commandment

A Lesson from Sloth, Murder, Adultery, and a Water Tower

 

The list of what we know as “The Seven Deadly Sins” dates back to the fourth century and, of course, has its basis in the teaching of the Bible.

One of the seven was Sloth. A one-word paraphrase is inadequate but useful: laziness.

We’ve all known some folks beset by such, people who begrudge the effort it takes to breathe, much less to do anything resembling work. Like all sins, this one carries with it a sad list of its own punishments, consequences that hurt not just the slothful person, but also those who deserve better from him.

And yet a wise man once said something to the effect that all idleness and rest is no more sloth than all sex is adultery.

You see, God was saying nothing at all against sex in marriage and everything FOR marriage and faithfulness and strong families with happy and secure children when concerning adultery he said, “Thou shalt not.” That’s generally held to be Commandment Number Seven. No matter what our society says, we cannot make our own rules and break that commandment (or any of the others) without painful consequences to ourselves and those we should love more than ourselves. Of course, God’s forgiveness is available and real, but real forgiveness does not remove all of the real and intensely hurtful consequences.

All God’s commandments are like that. They are rooted in his very nature. Nowhere in God’s vast creation will you find a place where murder will not hurt you, where lying enlarges your spirit, where disrespect to parents blesses your life, where covetousness does not shrink your soul, etc. These laws from God are not simply the “flavors” he chose on one particular day; even God cannot change them because they reflect his nature, and they are as real as the law of gravity.

It’s been interesting lately to watch the water tower near our house as workers have been climbing all over that massive structure in a serious refurbishing project. Their various lines and cables and safety harnesses indicate that those folks (whose job I do NOT want) are very much aware that the law of gravity is not to be trifled with. Flaunt it, and serious pain or death will be the inevitable consequence.

All of that to say that the Almighty was not recommending laziness when he gave us Commandment Number Four: “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.” Like all the other commandments, it predated the ritual laws of the Old Testament and points to truth and principles everlastingly true.

We can talk about those principles and applications and interpretations, but at the very least, we can know that even the Creator “rested” after creation. His commandment that we take some time for recreative rest and trust him to spin the world for a few hours without our help is meant to bless us. If we ignore it, the consequences to ourselves—and to those around us—may not be quite as obvious, but I think we can be sure they are just as real and painful as those which follow when we shoot a neighbor, run off with his wife, twist words into lies, or take a nose dive off the nearest 150-foot water tower.

 

      You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!

 

Copyright 2017 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

 

 

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Even If Fidgeting Is Genetic, a Little Rest Is Divine

clicking-pen

Scientists have discovered, I’m told, a gene for “fidgeting.” I guess I’ve got it.

When sitting down with your legs crossed, do you find your in-the-air foot speed-wiggling for no apparent reason?

Has your spouse surprised you by suddenly erupting in your presence, “Will you STOP clicking that blasted pen!”? You didn’t realize you’d committed any crime—well, at least, not that one—but there you were, guilty as sin, nailed for incessantly and quite unconsciously rapid-fire firing off a pen-clicking mechanism.

Answer yes to those questions and, yes, you, too, carry the fidgeting gene.

I suppose fidgeters should form a victims’ group. Our society loves victims. There could be money in this. Surely our fidgeting is not our own fault. Who to sue?

If you’re a fidgeter, I guess you could try to overcome genetics by cutting down on your coffee intake. I’ve thought about cutting back to one pot. But that approach seems fraught with danger. I can’t imagine how anyone could expect to write anything coherent or, for that matter, think two logical thoughts in a row, without the beneficent aid of a cup or a few of dark-roasted brew.

How many sermons have crashed on take-off even at the composition stage, long before they reached the pulpit, because the reckless sermonizer was short of coffee? How many columns and essays have decomposed even as they were being composed, simply because the writer was so undisciplined and lax in his craft, so criminally careless with the precious words entrusted to his care, that he tried, without the aid of coffee, to send them down the runway and expect them to fly?

One wonders.

Besides that, the list of the health benefits of coffee-drinking just keep piling up. Google it. (By the way, did you notice that butter has now been pardoned by the food police? Cheesecake will surely be next!)

Ah, but how to deal with fidgeting?

I’m told that some fidgeters, trying to bravely bear up under the weight of their affliction, enter the ministry. That way they rarely have to sit through an entire sermon.

For about two nanoseconds, I thought I had the answer: “Fidgeters Anonymous.” But that’ll never work. Not the anonymous part. Everyone around us already knows who we are.

But it would be a great club! (We could meet at Starbucks.) I couldn’t prove it, but I’ll betcha dollars to java-dunked donuts that both the Apostles Peter (jumping out of a boat to water-walk) and Paul (rapid-fire, take-no-prisoners prose) would be honored posthumous members.

God created, and loves, both fidgeters and non-fidgeters. Both groups have inherent strengths and weaknesses. But in the not-so-anonymous Fidgeters’ Club, we probably should post prominently a framed copy of God’s Fourth Commandment. The Almighty seems to think we all need to take some time to be still.

Fidgeters need to, even if it’s genetically difficult. And non-fidgeters desperately deserve a break from fidgeters.

 

      Some new stuff is on the website! You’re invited to visit at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com

 

Copyright 2014 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


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