Let there be light

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.
-Albert Einstein

Forest Floor In Autumn With Ray Of Light

Time is such an interesting thing. Rabbi Daniel Lapin suggests that when God spoke let there be light He was in fact embedding energy in the earth for us to find and make use of, that we may have more time. Recall the sun and the moon and the stars had not yet been created when God created light. Interesting.

Last summer Jamie and I had the privilege of staying in a beautiful old bed and breakfast that was built in the 1850’s with some of our closest friends. This old home belonged to a prominent family of their day and we were lucky enough to spend some time reading a set of the family’s memoirs. Throughout the trip a friend of ours consistently drew us back in time, asking questions like what do you suppose the coolest part of living in the 1850’s would have been? We often found ourselves thinking about just how different it would have been.

The memoirs touched on some business that the father of the house had engaged in. Like most business it dealt with deep partnerships. I can not recall exactly what took place but the gist of the matter was that one of the men was traveling to take a meeting for with the other. The meeting was set by post and many things were assumed that we would not be assumed today. For example, the meeting was set on a week not on the hour or minute. That is, “I plan, should you find it agreeable and God willing, to arrive the week of the 7th.” It was assumed the traveler would be put up, that the receiver would be flexible and set, for the most part, a week aside. Also, I am assuming here, it would not be irregular that when the traveler arrived the gentleman of the house may not be there waiting to receive him. The traveler may have to wait. Imagine that.

This manner seems slow and inefficient at a superficial glance. This manner of taking a meeting and furthermore perhaps just to talk through a the details of a deal, that of which might get done via text today, would seem too slow to many of today’s CEOs. And yet these men had still managed to conduct commerce and provide commodities for our country on large scale. Interesting.

Consider for a moment how deep and meaningful a partnership a stage like this in the 1850’s would set. Contrasted with today’s ‘busy’ business owners, where often every minute is accounted for at least once. Constantly rushing around, putting out the next fire, never seeming to have enough time. Yet we have been blessed with so much energy enhancements, we have been given so much time back since the 1850’s. What a contrast.

In the old world there were two large and contrasting cultures. Jerusalem and Athens. When we think of what Greece gave the world we often think of sculptures and philosophy. Both unaffected by time. Interesting. A sculpture unchanging. A debate neverending. Another from Greece the gymnasium and preservation and worship of youth. Contrasted with Jerusalem where elders were held in high esteem. Jewish culture holds fast to time passing. They consider this understanding a blessing not something to work against. On the first day of hanukkah one candle is lit. The next day two are lit. Things are changing.

Things, relationships, are changing. Strengthening and weakening. We can not attend to a relationship once and for all and expect it to stay well. Leave it be and come back in two years and it will not be where you left it. Things are changing, getting better, getting worse.

There was a brilliant commercial I saw once that played on this fact. It was a teeth whitening commercial that said “if you’re not whitening, you’re yellowing”. They were right. Things change as time passes. I have come to believe that God gave us energy to multiply our time. The question then becomes, with all this wonderful energy at our disposal, what things are we investing our time in?

-A takeaway from Festival of Lights by Rabbi Daniel Lapin

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

 

Cardinal Virtues: Temperance

Temperance refers to all pleasures, and it means not abstaining, but going the right length and no further.  

-CS Lewis

Businessmen On Their Way To Work

Temperance from the latin temperare meaning restrain or temperantia, moderation. A most useful weapon against the deceiver in times of sorrow. C.S. Lewis suggests in his famous Screwtape Letters that devils deploy indulgence as a strategy when we are down. In the letters Screwtape writes to his demon understudy Wormwood and explains that they need be careful when dealing with indulgences. Pleasures he continues were in fact created by God and so when trying to distort them they are in fact on enemy territory. Screwtape goes on to say, “Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is the least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable. An ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula.”

Temperance is enjoying pleasure within the bound set by God. Not going where God has forbid us to go. It is, of course, best this way. That first piece of cake is always the best and so on. God created good things for us to enjoy and I have come to believe that when we enjoy them properly it brings glory to our Creator. Going too far or a full degree off the intended, perverting the pleasure, is where the deceiver would like us. Focusing on true and false will rescue us. God sends His Word to heal.

C.S Lewis closes a short stop on temperance in Mere Christianity by holding that one of the deceivers worst victories with temperance is its modern restriction to drink. C.S. Lewis notes that the man who makes golf or work the center of his life or a woman who devotes all her thoughts to her appearance or children can be just as intemperate as someone who gets drunk every evening. Of course, these do not show so easily. They do not leave you slurring your words or stumbling in the street. But God is not deceived by externals.

-A takeaway from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

-A takeaway from The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

Contentment Brings Margin: Simplicity

“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”

-C.S. Lewis

Creation Of Earth

I once heard a wise woman discourage the use of the word ‘bored’ in her household.  “Offensive to the creator” was her stance. How firm a foundation. Who are we to be bored with what God has given? In finances a basic understanding is to spend beneath the level provision provided. Contentment with what we are given will bring margin. We can budget time as we budget finances. We have all been allotted 24 hours a day and we all approach the future at that rate. How much progress is enough? Contentment will bring margin.  Who are we to say “this is not enough.” Enough money. Enough progress. How much is enough for you to be content? Do you yearn for self or for others? Do you toil for the perishable or for the eternal? Perhaps these are the questions of margin. To reveal what contentment you were set for.

 

-A takeaway from Simplify by Bill Hybels

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

Drink of the Deep: Simplicity

God made us plain and simple but we have made ourselves very complicated.

-King Solomon

Busy retail high street 3 days after Christmas

A wet spring dusk among the shops. The kind where the lights of cars and street lights and store lights reflect on the wet ground. The rain ceased. The sidewalks busy again. A mother has conquered the shops. Plunder in elbow – hurries on a little one to come along. A man rushes past on his jog, playlist in ear. A group of young men banter back and forth as they head to the pub. Another mother hurriedly rushes around an SUV after shepherding several little ones in. Everyone late for full. On time for empty.

Deep things intrigue. Deep things fulfill. An adventure in the deep wilderness.  The superficial distract and leave empty. Once you have had a deep adventure the superficial just will not satisfy. A deep conversation of everlasting things can not be replaced by empty talk that goes no where.

What have we done to live our lives so superficially? Spending our time on things that do not last. Who can say if these people are on a deep adventure? Perhaps it is their cares that will decide. Are they focused on the distant past and distant future or on the everlasting and now? Planning and wanting for themselves or responding and serving others?

 

-A takeaway from Intimacy with the Almighty by Charles Swindoll

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.