A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
"The Peril Of Spiritual Boredom"
Message summary: Given the temptation of spiritual boredom we all need to regularly heed Paul's words to Timothy "to fan into flame the gift of God" (2 Timothy 1:6).
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“A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the estate I have coming to me.' So he distributed the assets to them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered together all he had and traveled to a distant country, where he squandered his estate in foolish living" (Luke 15:11-13).
"Not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11). "Fan into flame the gift of God" (2 Timothy 1:6).
Each fall Brooksyne makes a presentation in various locations dealing with the Pilgrims voyage on the Mayflower. She has done this since the mid-nineties when she had the opportunity to present historically accurate information about the pilgrims, including their spiritual faith, to public school elementary students in Massachusetts.
Now she presents it in senior facilities, to church groups and Christian schools. Last Friday she shared "The Mayflower Voyage" at the Willow Valley Retirement Community speaking not only to seniors but pre-school children as well.
You never know what kind of response you will get when asking children questions. She asked them, "Why do you suppose the Pilgrims left England to come to America?" One little girl responded, "Because they were bored".
Much to the surprise of the preschool leader and Brooksyne as well, one little boy responded, "Because the king was mean to them" which of course is true. They were fleeing persecution and seeking freedom to practice their faith.
But let's consider the little girl's answer today. To a child in our age growing up with all the modern day hi tech, entertaining, bells and whistles of life that period of time probably would seem boring! But of course no matter how much stuff we have all people; children, teens and adults, still get bored.
But today let us consider spiritual boredom. Is that possible? Sure it is.
Our Biblical example of boredom may seem a stretch but not necessarily. The main focus of the parable of the prodigal son is the father's readiness to forgive the wayward son. However let's muse on why he left his father's house in the first place. He, like so many, thought the grass was greener on the other side. Was he bored in his father's house doing the same chores day after day after day? I wonder how long did he find pleasure in foolish and wasteful living? Probably not very long!
We who are redeemed are living spiritually in our Father's kingdom. But can boredom be an issue for us as well? Can our zeal and enthusiasm wane? Of course it can!
"Being on fire" is an expression used to describe a sold out, uncompromised, committed follower of Christ. The daily Scripture text teaches that we are "not to be lagging behind in diligence, but we are to be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11). We both memorized this verse as young Christians and recite it regularly.
John Wesley has a famous description concerning his conversion, "I felt my heart strangely warmed." The challenge is keeping that warm heart through life as we invariably encounter circumstances that seek to make our hearts cold! Boredom can be a strategy of Satan.
Each of the three phrases in this verse is rich in meaning but today let us consider just the second phrase, "fervent in spirit". The underlying Greek word for "fervent" is "zeo", which means, "to be hot." The English word zeal is derived from this word.
This word zeo is used to describe the preaching of Apollos in Acts 18:25 who "spoke with great fervor". This word suggests having plenty of heat to produce adequate, productive energy, but not so much heat that one goes out of control. The idea is not of being overheated to the point of boiling over and out of control but, like a steam engine, of having sufficient heat to produce the energy necessary to get the work done.
The challenge in the spiritual life is to maintain this fervency in spirit throughout life. Another version states, "Keep your spiritual fervor". I think all of us have to fight the tendency for our spiritual fervor to wane. The need for maintaining this fervor in our walk with God is of paramount importance. Jesus, in describing the last days stated, “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold" (Matthew 24:12).
Given the temptation of spiritual boredom we all need to regularly heed Paul's words to Timothy "to fan into flame the gift of God" (2 Timothy 1:6). The Greek word translated "fan into flame" signifies the recovering of fire choked with ashes or decaying. It's kind of like stirring up a campfire early in the morning.
Let us conclude with a list of suggestions on maintaining your spiritual fervor:
Oh Lord, please light the fire
That once burned bright and clean
Replace the lamp of my first love
That burns with holy fear
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, during times of peace, prosperity and easy going we acknowledge the tendency to be spiritually bored. Help us to stir up the fire of Your Holy Spirit in our lives through faithful reading and application of the Scriptures. Though there are daily temptations, disappointments, and experiences that could easily extinguish the fire of Your Spirit in our lives, we thank You that Your abiding presence in our hearts is greater than the foe that seeks to deter us. May we always be attentive to Your still small voice and the convicting power of Your Holy Spirit so that we keep our spiritual fervor in serving You all the days of our lives. Through Christ we pray. Amen.
The Mayflower Voyage Presentation
I’m often asked “What do you talk about in your Mayflower Voyage presentation?”
I tell the historical account of the Mayflower voyage of Sept. 6, 1620 – why the separatists (pilgrims) wanted to come to the new world, the failed attempts, the very harsh conditions of their 66 day voyage, what their first year in the new world was like including the “great sickness”, deaths of half the passengers, and their harvest festival in Oct. of 1621 for which they thanked God for the plenteous harvest they enjoyed that year.
I adapt the message based upon the group I’m speaking to, whether it’s children, adults, or senior homes and make it as interactive as possible.
Suggestions for Present Day Thanksgiving: Preparations for Thanksgiving is time consuming but you might have extra time over the Thanksgiving weekend to enhance your celebration, especially if you have children present, by including some historical foods and activities present on the Mayflower or in Plimouth (original spelling).
Games played by the children during the harvest festival – boys arm wrestled (as seen in photo above), competed in the broad jump, and raced against each other. Indians competed in the bow and arrow competition. The girls spent most of their time helping moms with food preparation during the three day gathering. If you have a mortar and pestle (seen on the table) the girls can grind dried herbs and spices in preparation for seasoning veggies and such.
Food Samples – Some of the food on board the Mayflower was hardtack (also called ship’s biscuits) , dried beef, and hard cheese. I offer these as samples at my presentation.
Psalm 23 & Psalm 121 - Quote together one or both Psalms as they were often read during the Mayflower voyage, although it was the Geneva version.
If you're interested in learning more about the voyage and want to present it to young children "Three Young Pilgrims" by Cheryl Harness is an excellent true story with historical data presented in a pictorial and understandable format. It was my first introduction to the Mayflower story. I was so intrigued with learning more about the voyage and Plimouth Colony that I purchased "Saints and Strangers" by George F. Willison which is a more scholarly detailed account of the Pilgrim Fathers and their families along with others who came to settle in the new world.
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