The Rest of the Story

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Productivity is highly overrated. I mean, what do you have to show for getting something done other than getting it done? This is a vicious circle that has lured people into a frenzy of achievement which has earned them very little but satisfaction, prosperity, and the admiration of others. Seriously, what kind of life is that?

In his Poor Richard’s Almanac, Ben Franklin wrote this little ditty: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Everybody likes Ben Franklin because he symbolizes the so-called “self-made man” and because he invented electricity. As a result, Americans think that the goal of life is to work like crazy so they can afford health clubs, fancy houses, new cars, four-buck lattes, and anything that plugs into a wall outlet. But this same Ben Franklin also wrote these things:

  • Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.
  • In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.
  • Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

My point here is that productivity, accomplishment, and prosperity have their place, but their rewards are contingent upon tangible goals, hard work, and perseverance. Why would anybody want to stake his happiness on things so unappealing?

Jesus may not have invented electricity, but he had the right idea about life. He’s also said almost as many cool things as Ben Franklin did, though Jesus wasn’t quite as funny and never lived in France. Jesus said that “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Then he told this parable about a guy who worked hard to become rich but God zapped the guy dead anyway. This goes to show that you can’t take it with you. And if you can’t take it with you why bother at all? A long time ago, King Solomon, the richest, wisest dude who ever lived, figured it out: “When I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” Who am I to argue with that?

Jesus isn’t into all the hard-driving success stuff. Instead, he’s into things like vacations, naps, zoning out, lounging around, wasting time, and other non-productive activities. Yes, Jesus did have a day job like everybody else, but he soon bagged that for the savior thing which afforded him a lot of time for sitting around and shooting the breeze. He wasn’t opposed to doing what had to be done, but he definitely made sure he got his down time in afterwards. When he clocked out after the crucifixion, for example, he took three days off (and gave us the long weekend). The plain fact of it is that Jesus spent most of his time reclining at tables, eating, telling stories, enjoying water sports, and basically avoiding work as much as possible.

So it should come as no surprise that Jesus offers the same lifestyle to all who believe. This is what faith is all about in the first place. What’s heaven, after all, if not an extended vacation time-share? Why devote so much time and effort to achieve something when the will of God is for us just to relax? Chill, man.

Sometimes I really like Jesus.

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