“….and does not eat the bread of idleness.” What does God mean by this?
One might think the definition of “idleness” is to do nothing or to have nothing to do, but to actually do nothing is not at all possible. We are always doing something otherwise we do not exist or we are in a comatose state of mind and on our backs being cared for.
Learning and eating have one thing in common: they both meet the needs we have for our purpose in life. The physical and spiritual are connected. You are what you eat!
Bread has a bread-maker. The Lord is giving us the insight here in that we learn to be idle. From the moment a baby starts to hear and see – the baby becomes active, and all the more active as their mind and body becomes stronger.
Idleness has a teacher, and it is not God or any of God’s ‘faithful’ servants. We can be very active in meeting our own needs and expectations and yet never accomplishing our true purpose in life. We can have big goals and have self-discipline each day in achieving those goals, but if our goals have nothing to do with God’s purpose for our lives then we have lived a life of idleness.
What we are taught – is how we will think. How we think is how we will live, which in turn influences other people, especially our children. So then it is very critical in every aspect of our lives that we are learning truth and wisdom from God’s Word and Spirit.
Fulfilling our purpose in life requires sleep: resting our body and mind from daily activity. (Sleeping is not idleness for it has a good purpose.) Far too many Christians have come to the pit of burn-out because they didn’t listen to their body or to the Holy Spirit. I love that about my Father; that He truly cares about our physical well-being far more than we do. He’s not in a hurry, so why should I be in a hurry? He’s in control, so why should I try to be in control? He’s not worried about my future, so why should I worry?
It’s idle to go along with the thinking and ways of the world, which is under the control of the devil (temporarily). It’s astute to check everything out with God’s Word and Spirit before we “eat” what the world wants to feed us – because once it is digested – it affects us and others around us.
Idleness is self-centered. Mental depression and physical illness are symptoms of idleness, and so are broken marriages, addictions and poverty.
Idleness produces idols because an idle person is always thinking about himself and how to get all that he wants.
Jesus brought it all out this way: “For the idolaters eagerly seek all these (earthly/physical) things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” Matthew 6:32-33
I’m reminded of how Jesus spoke and taught everywhere He went with His boys (His disciples). Jesus referred to Himself as the “Bread from Heaven.” His teaching (bread) was so nourishing that it drew crowds of people wherever He went and they were not concerned about going without physical food when they were with Jesus no matter how long it was. He is our food, in a spiritual sense. His words satisfy our spirits and bring fullness of life.
Jesus told the woman at the well that His water would never let her thirst again. She of course took this in a physical way, while He was speaking spiritually. Jesus always taught the spiritual using the physical because they are very much connected. Until He gives us His Spirit we are limited in what we can see and understand. His words to her that day fed her soul and sent her running into town to tell everyone about Him, and people believed in Him as the result. This should also be our practice: sitting and talking to Him each morning, letting His words digest so that we go about our day accomplishing the will of God.
Jesus told His disciples that they knew nothing about His “food” because His food was to do the will of His Father who sent Him and to finish His work. (John 4:34) No matter what we do in life we need to feed on God’s Word each day and listen to God’s Spirit so we gain wisdom to know how to apply ourselves in doing His perfect and acceptable will.
People need to see true Christianity as it was with the first generation of Christ’s followers. As it is, what people see today of ‘modern’ Christianity is tasteless and unfulfilling. We need to keep to the “ancient path” of the perfect and acceptable will of our Father and Lord Jesus Christ.
You might have a career that makes you feel good about yourself, but it’s an idle career if you are not living out God’s purpose for your life. You might be a high government official, but unless you use your position to support God’s eternal values and laws, you are idle and wasting your time and strength in that position. You might be a good soldier or the highest ranking officer in your country’s military service, and even winning a war, but you are idle if the purpose for the war is not noble by God’s standard (good overcoming evil). You might be a church pastor with thousands of active members and still be idle, and teaching idleness, when you keep your congregation on the milk of the Word, keeping them in an “infant” state of mind. (Babies are all about attention, comfort and having things done for them.) You might have spent thousands of dollars on a college degree, but if you don’t have the heavenly wisdom to know the right thing to do with that knowledge – then you have wasted that knowledge and all those years in college. You can become famous to this world for something or be the wealthiest of all people and still be living a life of idleness – because it’s all about you.
“As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear….For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ.” 1 Peter 1:14-19
Idleness is passed down generation to generation and all it produces is the empty life.