Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Distractions - origen

It's a cold Wednesday in December. I'm sitting in the church office and the cleaning lady is running the vacuum sweeper in the sanctuary. I've been reading a nice little church history book 'Peril and Peace - Volume I: Chronicles of the Ancient Church' by Mindy & Brandon Withrow. It's church history written for the 9-14 year old, and I am finding it a fantastic read.

This morning I read about Origen. It was quite fascinating. His father was taken away by soldiers during the night (and later killed) for being a Christian while Origen was seventeen. Origen wanted to be taken captive with him so he too could give his life for Christ, but his mother wouldn't let him. She hid his clothes and forced him to stay, saying God had other plans in mind for him. So he stayed and looked after her and his brothers and continued his schooling. He later began teaching while still a teenager, and wrote a bunch of books about the Bible and theology, and was a leading thinker not only of his time but for all time.

What struck me this morning was how at one point in Origen's life he decided to get rid of everything that distracted him from his work. So he gave away everything but his books and one set of clothing. He taught at the church all day, and stayed up late very night praying and studying Scripture. When he finally let himself sleep, it was on the hard floor. He was afraid too much food or sleep would make him lazy.

I find that interesting, because I often struggle with being too busy or with being too lazy. On the one hand, I think most people are way too busy. And someone who is always too busy does not impress me in the least. I think they have some serious issues they need to deal with. But on the other hand, I also worry that sometimes I am too lazy. And not even lazy in the sense of 'not being too busy', but more in the sense of having too leisurely of a life. I believe our lives probably should be lived at a much slower pace than most people live them, but I'm not sure we need all the 'stuff' that we have. I'm talking about simplifying life...

So today I'm thinking about all the things I can perhaps do without. And not only that, but I'm also praying that God might show me where I need to focus my work and/or ministry. If I had less, and did less, but concentrated more of my time and energy in fewer endeavors - throwing myself into my areas of strength and passion - what would my life look like? I suppose the question is... "God, what do you want me to do?"

Just kinda thinking about that today.

Peace out; and in.

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