By Allen Teal, chaplain, Rolla Presbyterian Manor
What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? (Matthew 16:26, NIV)
We live in a remarkable age. Since the Industrial Revolution, everyone who is not a bonafide workaholic has some type of pastime reserved for their leisure time. Not all leisure activities are hobbies. Binge-watching Christmas movies is not a hobby. Spending time and money finding and collecting Christmas movies is a hobby.
The Bible encourages people to stop and reflect on life and the world around them.
This does not always have to be attached to a major spiritual undertaking. A good hobby can be a way to occupy the hands while liberating the mind. Engaging in a satisfying, productive leisure activity provides the time for thinking to move in deeper channels. During these times, thorny problems can be reasoned out and spiritual issues can be addressed.
A hobby can help you sort out the important from the urgent.
Things will always compete for our time. “Now” is a catchword that is employed when delaying is not thought to be an option. Hobbies tend to put the urgent on hold in favor of our recent experiences. As concerns and tasks are viewed in a more relaxed setting, urgent items may begin to seem less important. These are things like buying an item before a sale ends, compared to reaching out to a hurting friend or family member. The first seems urgent. The second is important.
Eternal things need time to be recognized.
Providing income to care for ourselves and our families is rarely an optional effort. However, if it pushes out our spiritual life, a re-evaluation of our life may be in order. For many, enjoying a hobby is a good way to set time aside for spiritual thought. Purists will say that one should exercise the discipline to pursue God independently of other activities. The truth is, others need a reason to stop their overbooked existence.
A hobby puts the brakes on a money-driven life. This can be the opportunity to listen to the old adage, “Stop and smell the roses.” In this case, I would suggest, “Stop and listen for the presence of God in your life.”