My most overused, over-mentioned Bible verse is probably Proverbs 12:11 – “He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.” (NIV 1984). I love the clarity and ongoing helpfulness of this Biblical truth. I beat people over the head with it. Full disclosure: I see it as my bludgeoning ministry and I don’t shrink back from it. I see the cognitive discomfort I’m inflicting with it even as eyes roll back and counselees audibly exhale, but I know its worth it. “Work on the stuff in front of your face, Genius!” (JTV 2016…yes, JTV means John Torres Version.) What golden advice this is! What treasure! If you apply it this second, you will save so much time. This is a guaranteed way to make progress in your life.
So, with this in mind, something has been bothering me lately. I’ve seen more and more people falling in love all over again with the short cut. Why are people so passionate about avoiding work? The easy way is great if you want to do easy things, but there is no easy way to do hard things, or great things, and most things in life worth doing and living for are hard things. I have some thoughts, therefore, on why the short cut is making a comeback (not that it ever fell that much out of favor).
- Life today is more confusing than ever. Confusion makes people quit; it is exhausting. If I’m confused about my day or my life, then there is little chance I’ll have any passion or drive. Confusion inspires fear; it motivates people to want to hide or escape. You can’t work your land if you don’t know its yours or you don’t know what land is. A confusing life in a confusing world leaves only fantasies to chase.
- Much 21st Century technology perpetuates a design theory that defines work as bad. Smart phones, for example, exist so we don’t have to be smart ourselves. People who work hard are seen by many as unintelligent. This is insane stuff: it is a recipe for human extinction. Will robots be taking over everything soon?
- Laziness is a virtue. Fun and laziness are becoming synonymous. Sitting down and playing a video game (or anything else involving a screen) is better than doing real things, whether we’re talking about dancing, playing music, building civilizations, or combating zombies. (Maybe in the last case it really is.) Too many of us are living virtual lives more than actual lives. The problem comes when we don’t recognize that virtual life displaces actual life; it kills it. You can’t have both.
Shun that shortcut! Work your land! Live a real life! Praise God!