Wasted time. Sleeping late, star gazing, sitting by a creek, lingering in a good conversation, a walk in the park (without counting calories burned), taking a long lunch, sitting in quiet without an agenda. All of these are not impressive resume builders nor impressive activities unto themselves. To most they would be foreign concepts or considered luxuries. I can already hear the sneers saying, “It must be nice” or “I could never afford to do that.” Funny that these appear to be expensive in nature but do not cost even one dollar. They ARE costly because they demand that we become unavailable. What price tag have you placed tag on your availability?
Tell me, when have you ever heard a parishioner exclaim how impressed they are with their pastor’s hiddenness or lack of availability? Nope. You won’t ever hear of it. Instead we join in the chorus of the manic expectations placed upon the shoulders of those (pastors and ministry workers) who we depend on to respond to every one of our emotional hiccups and physical ails. “Isn’t Pastor SoAndSo so incredible…he knows everyone’s name and everything going on in everyone’s life all of the time. Isn’t that so amazing that Pastor is always available to everyone?”
We effortlessly lift of the unwavering availability of our pastors lifting them high, high upon the pedestal of human idolatry expecting a flawless performance as pastor, husband, father and friend. When we catch even a glimpse or glimmer of weakness we exploit it under our breath and begin to slowly and obsessively pull at the fray in the fabric of his character. Usually someone will act out passive aggressively to alert Pastor SoAndSo. If our Pastor is “wasting time” in restful and renewing activity like we have described above then we would be quick to declare them unproductive. How have we arrived into the place that we would only value our pastors (and ourselves) for what we are able to produce?
Rarely will someone confront Pastor SoAndSo in love to invite him to climb down off the tower of impossibility and to pull away to rest a while.
These “wastes of time” should not have ever been viewed as luxuries but rather as non-negotiables. As heretical as it may seem Jesus remained mostly hidden from us living in complete obscurity from us for the first thirty years of his life. He maintained a commitment to hiddenness during the three years of his earthly ministry.
Truth is…we know relatively nothing about this man who lived in perfect uninterupted rhythm with his Heavenly Father. And we wonder where the power came from to perform miracles. We rally around his presence among the multitudes and would probably have been counted among those who were frantically hunting for him when he became unavailable.
How might we each consider that doing nothing is possibly the most valuable thing we can do?