idle hands

“God does not want us to be lying idly on our backs; therefore He does not effect everything Himself. Nor does He want us to be boastful; therefore He did not give us everything. … But we are laboring in vain, thinking that through our own power or efforts we shall accomplish something. Therefore, he who wishes ‘to stand against the wiles of the devil’ (Eph. 6:11) and render them ineffectual, and to share in the divine glory, ought day and night to seek Go’s help and divine succor with tears and sighs, with insatiable longing and fire in his soul. He who wishes to share in this glory purges his soul of all worldly pleasures and of hostile passions and desires.” ~The Philokalia

Idle Hands

Most of us have probably heard the old saying that idle hands are the devil’s playground. The intent of that saying is to imply that those who are not kept busy will get into mischief. While that certainly does happen, especially with children, it goes beyond that.

We are not in this world to lay around and do nothing. Actually, it is impossible to do nothing. No matter how lazy we are, we have to breath, eat, take us space, and otherwise use up resources. We need to put something back into the world to compensate for that which we consume, and that does not mean the waste that comes out of us for eating and drinking.

I know many won’t believe this, but in a way, I actually feel sorry for the people born into very wealthy families who inherit so much money they never have to work. Some of them choose to work anyway, and they are the smart ones. Those who don’t, however, can never feel any true sense of accomplishment for getting a tough job done, or for getting a creative project completed.

Self Made Man

On the other hand, we have the accomplished person who likes to refer to himself as “self-made”, meaning that he has accomplished everything with no help from anyone. The media tends to promote this nonsensical view also. Quite simply, it is impossible in this day for anyone to truly be self-made. Unless you grow your own food, build your own house, makes your one computers and cell phones from material you mined yourself, and so on, you are not self-made, you are simply refusing to acknowledge the great contributions of many others to your success.

Misguided Hands

While idle hands are not good, busy hands that are serving no real purpose in what they do may actually be worse. Just this morning I say a short video of a man who taught his rabbit to pull a comb across his hair coming it (sort of). It is certainly a cute and funny video, but think of how much time this young man spent teaching the rabbit that trick. That is time that could have been spent accomplishing something, but once it is wasted, you can’t get it back.

Guided Hands

The truth is, our hands, other than idle hands, are always guided in some way, it is just a matter of who is doing the guiding. We like to believe that we are in the driver’s seat and all these accomplishments of our hands and minds are our own, but the truth is, we are like the infant in the back seat of the car who things he is driving with the toy steering wheel, when he really isn’t.

Almost everything we do on this plane of reality is guided, either by God and His assistants, or Satan and his demons. The choice we have to make is do we want to be Businessman running in a hamster wheelguided by angels and help to accomplish something real and permanent, namely God’s great Plan, or do we want to listen to the demons whose primary purpose is to prevent God’s plan, and spend our lives going around and around on the big hamster wheel. Essentially, that is the only choice we have, every thing else is just a subordinate to it.


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