At the end of every day in our house, Anna has to clean up her toys before going to bed. As a general rule, she does this pretty well, but there are nights when it seems impossible that she will be able to focus and do the work. She stalls, plays with the toys, wants to come up on the couch and snuggle, has to use the bathroom a hundred times and even lies down on the ground impersonating insects… The thing that blows me away is that when she just gets down to the task at hand, she knocks it out fairly quickly and gets rewarded, but when she messes around, it stretches the whole thing on forever and ever with no reward.
Of course, I do the same things. When I was in high school, I could find a million things that I “needed” to attend to instead of homework. I would gladly do yard work, dishes, laundry and even exercise if it meant I could blow off some chemistry equations for later. And it’s not just me either… why do you think one of the first things they put on PCs was solitaire and minesweeper? How many guys spend more time in their cubicles tweaking their fantasy football teams than filling out time sheets and expense reports? How many people lose precious hours following novels, blogs and playing video games when they know that filing will be waiting on them and that phone call is going to have to be made eventually? How much time do we spend running from what needs to be done? And how much junk can we pretend is important when we don’t want to do what really is important?
In Job 28, he starts talking about mining and just how far people will go to get their hands on gold and jewels when there is something else they should be seeking… He says, “There is a mine for silver and a place where gold is refined… man puts an end to the darkness; he searches the farthest recesses… far from where people dwell he cuts a shaft, in places forgotten by the foot of man; far from man he dangles and sways… no bird of prey knows that hidden path, no falcon’s eye has seen it. Proud beasts do not set foot on it, and no lion prowls there. Man’s hand assaults the flinty rock and lays bare the roots of the mountains. He tunnels through the rock, his eyes see all its treasures… but where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell?”
You see, people will do anything to avoid the most important thing. They will go where no one ever has. They will risk everything, dangling in the danger of uncharted darkness, but they don’t find what really matters… All that adventurous exploration of cutting shafts, dangling and assaulting the roots of mountains sounds really exciting, but it leads nowhere. Job essentially says, “It gets you gold, but so what? Who cares? What about the thing that really matters?” For the rest of that chapter Job talks about wisdom and how no one understands how valuable it is and how you can’t buy it. He says it’s hidden from the eyes of every living thing but that God knows where it is and how to get to it. In verse 28 he says, “The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom.”
I think that’s what people are running from… we don’t want to humble ourselves in fear before the Lord. That humility is so scary to us that we’ll do anything and risk anything to avoid it. We build up these images of ourselves to fool everyone into thinking we have it all together when it is so much easier to fall down before Him and let Him handle it all. Why should we go to such great lengths just to get our hands on what will never satisfy? Fall down before Him… lay down your life… take up your cross. Leave the adventurous distractions and walk in fear of the Lord… it’s where you’ll find something worth seeking.