“Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
Psalm 90: 11-12, 14
Yesterday, at 5:45 pm, I finished finals. Thank goodness. Congratulations to me. Really. It’s been one heck of a week.
To celebrate, I watched a solid 4 hours of Netflix when I came home. And then, simply because I could, I woke up and watched another 4 hours. We all need our lazy days, we do. Rest is a good thing. But the thing is, this morning, I chose to watch Netflix rather than get up and watch Jane the Virgin than spend time with the Lord.
I know. Rest really is important. I know that everyone has these kinds of days, but the truth is that in my avid Netflix binging, I am not resting. I am simply spending my life on a TV show that I most likely will not remember in any detail by next year. I am, in fact, distracting myself from truly finding rest in God. I am failing to seek restoration and wholeness in the one place I might find it.
At the end of the day, I am broken and in great need of God. I am a hypocrite who cannot seem to practice what I preach. I am a weak, arrogant fool, who seems to think I am entitled to a great life, a flawless family, and transcendent happiness.
This arrogance is what keeps me from seeking God. Somewhere in my heart, I have decided that I don’t need God after all. I have decided that I am enough, and that everything I have, everything I am, belongs to me. So why seek God? According to my prideful logic, I don’t need Him.
And this is what leads me to watch Netflix for hours on end. Sad, I know.
But what will I say to God when I stand before him on judgment day? “Sorry, God, I was just tired, and honestly, Grey’s Anatomy was such a great show”? Hopefully not. More likely than not, I’ll be weeping and mourning the manner in which I’ve absolutely and totally wasted my life on television dramas and dog memes.
In the Parable of the Talents, recounted in Mark 25, a master gives talents (money) to three of his servants before leaving on a trip. To one servant, he gives five talents; to another, he gives two; and to the last, he gives one. During the master’s trip, the servants use the money in various ways. The servants who received two and five talents trade with them and double the amounts they were given. The servant who received one, however, runs off and buries it, not using it to earn any profit. When the master returns, he rewards the servants who earned profit with even more wealth. But when he finds that the last servant did not use the one talent for any positive gain, the master declares him a wicked, slothful servant, and casts him out of the house.
Many people read this parable, understanding the talents represent the gospel, which Jesus commands his followers to share. Others believe the talents to represent spiritual gifts and physical talents given to us by God. Those interpretations are perfectly valid, but today, God reminded me that I have been overlooking some of the most foundational, basic gifts He has given me.
I was born into a family that was able to financially and materially provide for me. I was able to go to college. I am able to go home each night and cook dinner, take a long, hot shower (except for tonight, because my shower is broken), and sleep in a warm bed, unafraid of any harm. But at an even more basic level, I was able to wake up this morning. I was able to sit up in bed and decide what I want to do today. I have been given the gift of physical life. It’s something I overlook constantly, but really, isn’t it a miracle that I wake up each day and go to class, go to work, spend time with friends?
God has given me this talent–this talent of life. And I am burying it, failing to use it for any positive benefit to God and the building of his kingdom. I am wasting my life away on Netflix. I am misusing my time on deciding which filter to use on Instagram. I am utterly failing to live a life that reflects that I worship God and want to use my talents–my weak affections, my short vapor of a life–to speak highly of Him.
Why is it that I have no problem gushing over my favorite books and movies, but have so little enthusiasm when it comes to speaking about the Lord? Why is it that I’ll spend hours of my life on Grey’s Anatomy, but can hardly spend ten minutes in the Word without getting antsy? It makes me absolutely sick to think that I proclaim God to be my Lord and Savior, to think that He sent his only begotten son to die for me, and that I, in my heart, do not care.
See, here’s the problem: I’m not thankful enough. I don’t consider my life carefully in the fear of God, as the Psalmist does in Psalm 90. I don’t seem to grasp the fact that God is the one who gives me life, and that He who gives can also take away, even in an instant. I live my life as though it belongs to me. So I foolishly spend my time on things that matter only for here and now, forgetting that I am accountable to someone else for how I spend my life. I forget that God has asked more of my life than to be the only person who has watched every show on Netflix ever (and believe me, I’m getting there).
It’s not about being the most holy or spending the most time reading Scripture and praying. It’s about the fact that God has given me a precious talent, and I am wasting it, burying it in the ground. It’s about the fact that I have made a horrible mistake, thinking that my life is about me. Instead, It’s about reading the Bible and praying, in hopes of knowing God intimately, in hopes that my life might mean something. It’s about lifting my gaze from my grades, my Facebook, and my Netflix, and finding fullness of joy in God and God alone.
Oh God, have grace on me as I seek you in your Word. In your mercy, pour out a deeper revelation of your faithfulness, your kindness and your holiness to me. Show me the beauty of the gospel again. Cause my heart to fixate on things that are of you. Lord, give me strength, discipline, and humility as I try to live a life that worships you and expresses my thankfulness to you for all that you have done for me. Please, God, even as it says in Psalm 90, fill me with fullness of joy in your presence once again. Give me a heart of wisdom, that I might have discernment over how I spend my life. Please, Lord, redeem my life and let it mean something. Oh God, how I need you.
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.