The other day, I was having a good day. I had worked a little late to get some more things done so I would have the next day off. I went and had a healthy bite to eat, and then I went to a church to pray in. By the end of it all, I was feeling great, and I was ready to go home and relax and make of it an early night. I hadn’t had one of those in a long time.
So I get home, and then realize that my computer is going to be updated over the internet. And then that starts, and I think, well, I’ll have to learn what the new updates do, and so I start looking around the internet to understand how my computer is going to work. And then everything downloads, and then it’s some more time until the updates install. And after that, there is another update waiting to be downloaded, and I’m biding time poking around the internet a bit. Finally, after that, I start to use my computer with the new update to see how it’s changed, and what I have to reset for my personal settings, and … maybe you know how it goes.
By the time all the updates were done and I had made myself go through the new functionality, it was after midnight. There goes the restful night.
What happened? I thought it was going to be a restful night, and then I’m all preoccupied about this computer. I decided it was time to make a few changes and move some of my stuff along.
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tells a story about a man who reaps a huge harvest and decides to tear down his storage barns and build bigger ones, so he can eat, drink, and be happy. But God recognizes a problem, and He lets him know: at night, all those things you’ve got stored up, they’re going to preoccupy your attention. They’re going to take your energy and your time. “This night, they demand your soul from you.” (LK 12:23)
And you’re not going to have rest.
The things we own, they don’t give us rest. Oh, they’re supposed to. We might think they’ll make life easier. When people get excited about the new technology they’ll get to make life easier, I always say, wait a minute, with more technology comes more responsibility. The better the technology, the more work you’ll need to do to maintain it.
The things we own take up our time and energy and attention. Even at night, they demand our soul. If you find that happening like me, it might be time to make a few changes, maybe move some of the stuff along.
And get some rest.
Here is one who has labored with wisdom and knowledge and skill,
and yet to another who has not labored over it,
he must leave property.
This also is vanity and a great misfortune.
For what profit comes to man from all the toil and anxiety of heart
with which he has labored under the sun?
All his days sorrow and grief are his occupation;
even at night his mind is not at rest.
This also is vanity. (Ec 2:21-23)