Beside The Well
To do this thought justice I am going to have to share with you a large portion of the devotion book I am currently reading: Illustrations and Meditations or Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden by C.H. Spurgeon.
He starts each devotion with an unaccredited quote. I believe he is reading a book written by Thomas Manton.
Manton, if I am correct, writes: “He would be a cruel man who should cast his provisions…into the street and deny them to the poor…such are we to God; we know not what to employ our thoughts upon, and yet we will not think of his name. We will go musing upon vanity all the day long, and thus grinding chaff rather than we will take good corn into the mill.”
Spurgeon comments: “Must we invent pastimes to pass time away, and yet refuse ten minutes for meditation? What, will you sooner kill time at cards, or with a novel, or in utter idleness, than do your greatest Benefactor the honour of thinking of him? Is he so distasteful to you that you count it a bore, a burden, a bugbear even to hear his sacred name? Come, do thyself this favor – to give the next hour to God and to thine own soul…yield to your heavenly Friend a portion of your weary time. May be you will find out a way of never being weary again in this fashion – find out, in fact, the way to make time pass like a river which flows over golden sands, with a paradise on either bank.”
These words set my imagination going and drove me directly to the dictionary. What in the world is a bugbear? Definition: an object of obsessive dread. Oh, my. I stand guilty. Sometimes I have to drag myself to my chair and make myself stop long enough to read God’s Word and spend time in prayer.
Then, I looked at the word weary. I did some research to find the definition that was most likely the intent of these writers. It does not mean to be tired, as we would use it today. The old definition meant something unattested, unclaimed or spare. Their weary time is what we would call our down time; the time when we look around for a way to entertain ourselves.
That meant I had to look a bit more at the definition of entertain. It means to hold the attention of or to amuse. It is something done between productive times. Entertainment isn’t necessarily wrong; it is quite needed at times. But the writers are challenging us to look at the use of our time. Instead of employing our down time in frivolity, we are challenged to designate a portion of that time to fellowship with our Lord.
I got to working with entertain and came up with “inner-tain” to hold attention on; to muse or meditate on. Where entertainment is someone amusing us, inner-tainment is focusing our attention on Someone else. It is choosing to meditate on something inwardly beneficial and productive instead of being outwardly frivolous with our weary time.
Take a look again at the quotes and answer these questions for yourself.
“…grinding chaff rather than…take good corn into the mill.” Am I allowing my mind to grind chaff?
Do I find fellowship with my Lord a bore, a burden or a bugbear? (cool new word) Am I so self-focused that I cannot allow my Lord even an hour of my thoughts? Is my only goal in down time to entertain myself? Could my time be better spent inner-taining my Lord?
And, finally, before I draw this to a close, imagine with me the picture drawn in Spurgeon’s last sentence. “…to make time pass like a river which flows over golden sands, with a paradise on either bank.” Now that’s inner-tainment!