This isn’t a blog post about diet and exercise and it certainly isn’t about scales. It is about giving things their appropriate weight. What do I mean by that? Let me start with a quotation from Scripture about the prophet Samuel.
“And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.” (1st Samuel 3:19)
I love that phrase “let none of his words fall to the ground”. It means that when Samuel spoke, people listened. He could not be ignored. What he had to say was worth saying and was worth hearing. His words had weight. They had content. We live in a time of endless words. We can watch TV, listen to music or surf the internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We carry cell phones so that we are never out of touch. We text, we tweet, we Facebook (yeah, Facebook is not only a noun, it’s also a verb). E-mail is becoming obsolete. Our good friends that we live right across the street from sometimes text or Facebook us instead of picking up the phone or knocking on the door. We are completely connected and all too often isolated at the same time. Communication has become cotton candy, it is sweet, easy, pretty and of absolutely no nutritional value. It has no weight. Most of it is noise, completely unimportant. If I am honest with myself, I say a lot of things that just fall to the ground. I can blather on for paragraphs about subjects that are trivial. But how much attention do we give to what is the most valuable, the most important, the most weighty?
For the last couple of months, the bedtime reading for our boys has been the “Little House” books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We finished “Little House in the Big Woods” and “Little House on the Prairie” and are now reading “Farmer Boy”, the story of the some of the childhood of Laura’s eventual husband, Almanzo. They are fun books, a window into a different time that really wasn’t all that long ago. There are long detailed descriptions of farming techniques, churning butter, the building of a log cabin and activities that seem so foreign to my family and me. One thing that has made an impression on me is how hard people (including children not much older than my boys) worked for subsistence and how thankful they were for what we consider to be simple, unimportant things. It amazes me how little time they wasted. They were rarely idle. There was always something important that needed to be done. By comparison, we are idle. How much time do we spend doing things of very little value?
I am convinced that we live in a time of lightness. A time of spiritually empty calories. Of celebrity gossip and political sound bites. Of cliches and bumper sticker philosophy. Of entertainment that can only be described as “idiocracy”. What is the way out?
Why did Samuel’s words have impact? Why was he weighty in his presence and communication? I think the answer to that is found in the chapter before. Samuel learned to hear God’s voice and grew up in the presence of God (represented by the Tabernacle in Shiloh during this time frame). He lived, worked and spent large amounts of time in God’s presence. There isn’t any substitute for that. God’s presence, His glory is weighty. In fact the Hebrew word for glory can be translated as “weighty”. When we spend time in that presence, the glory, the weightiness of God soaks in. Priorities get re-ordered in God’s presence. Our very way of thinking gets changed. We learn (for lack of a gentler way to put it) to shut up and listen.
I am typically pretty tough to beat in a game of Trivial Pursuit. I would like to be little less trivial and a lot more weighty.