Jul 21 2007
For as long as I can remember, people have ripped on me. It used to be because I wore sweat pants all the time. Recently, I’ve been ripped on because I’m “too serious.” Most of the time, I just laugh about it with the person while politely declining their invitation to do this or that activity.
I try to take everyone’s criticism to heart. I consider it. In the end, I may not agree with all of it, but I can usually see some truth to what they’re saying when I stop and think. One of the questions I’ve asked recently when someone criticizes me is, “Why are they saying this?”
Imagine if President Bush played golf every single day. How do you think Americans would react? They’d probably go ballistic. “Here he has all this work to do,” they’d say, “and Bush is out whacking a golf club.” But retired people do that all the time. So what’s the difference? A definition will be helpful.
Frivolous: “characterized by lack of seriousness or sense; self-indulgently carefree; unconcerned about or lacking any serious purpose; given to trifling or undue levity; of little or no weight, worth, or importance; not worthy of serious notice.”
Interesting, huh? So let’s answer our question. Why is it an offense for President Bush to play golf every day but the right of a retired person? The difference lies in the expectation. President Bush has things he is supposed to do. Retired people don’t. And that’s why being frivolous is relative. It’s all dependent on the goals and expectations a person has.
Bringing it full circle. Would anyone ever accuse President Bush of being too serious? Almost certainly not. Why? Because the scope and importance of his job demand that he be sober, serious, sharp, and attentive to the work at hand. So when someone tells me I’m too serious now, I’m not offended. It’s almost a compliment. The truth is that I’m busy at home trying to figure out my life. I read books and write. I’m trying to figure out how I fit into this world and how I can be on mission with God while I do live. That’s super important to me. As with the President, that goal demands that I’m sober, serious, sharp, and attentive to the work at hand.
Retired people, by and large (yes, there are exceptions), have nowhere to go. Most have no real remaining dreams. They wanted to play golf until they died. They’re on a downhill train to the end of life. Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die. That was their goal, but it’s not mine. I have other things in mind.
Have you imagined the crazy possibilities of what your life can count for? The craziest life is possible. But it takes work. A lot of it. And the payoff is incredible if the goals are reached. Anyone who has defined future goals begins to see other things as frivolous. By definition they are – they’re just not as important. Of course, there is, in all things, a damage in being too extreme. We need to have fun and be re-created.
The risk is that if we die before we reach our goals, we feel we’d have wasted all that time we could have had fun “in the moment.” But we can put those “fun savings” on deposit with God. He is the trustworthy Banker and sees our effort. Laboring in Jesus’ name, we’ll be rewarded in this life and/or the next.
Have you thought lately about what treasure you’re storing up in heaven? You might have to be more serious than usual for a while to discover how you can make deposits there. You might have to turn down tonight’s party invitation. It’s hard to say no at first. But it’s worth it! For yourself, for Jesus, and for other people. And that’s my answer to why I can’t go out sometimes. That’s the reason why President Bush doesn’t play golf every day. There’s a lot of work to be done!