Dr. James L. Snyder
Now that summer is upon us, we can turn our back on those frosty days of winter. I like winter as long as it is in the past tense. Otherwise, all that cold tenses me up something terrific. Now that summer is upon me, I can sit back, relax and enjoy those crazy, lazy days of summer.
My plans for the summer have already been established. I have a little notebook with all the things I plan to do during the summer. If someone were to open that little notebook, they will find, much to their surprise, not a thing written on any page.
That is precisely my plan. I plan to do nothing during the summer.
This is a relatively new strategy on my part. Every time I plan to do something, it never turns out right. In fact, if I plan to go right everything turns around and I end up going left. Therefore, my ingenious plan is to plan the opposite of what I really want to do. After all, it cannot be any worse than what I have been doing up to now.
I have been dreaming about the luxury of doing absolutely nothing for the summer. I have no personal goals to achieve. I have no projects needing completion. I have only one goal for the entire summer and that is to do nothing.
For this nefarious plan of mine to be successful, I will need to avoid the wife for the entire summer. If she was in the living room I would make sure, I was out in the garage. If she were out on the porch, I would be in the bathroom. I had this all worked out in my head long before Spring came to its finale.
For weeks now, I have been busy planning my summer's spree of non-activity. Within a matter of time, some strange thought horned in on my serenity. For some reason I hit a snag in my planning. I thought I had everything worked out. Then I noticed something strange about this new strategy of mine. That is, it is quite hard to plan to do nothing.
For example, if I plan to go fishing I know what equipment I need to lay out and what clothes I need to wear. If I am planning to go on a vacation, I know what to pack and I know the clothes to put in the suitcase and so forth. But, how do you plan to do nothing?
When I first thought of this plan, it seemed like such an easy thing to do. Something natural for a person like me. My problem was, what clothes do I need to put on when I am planning to do nothing? What kind of equipment do I need? And, should I pack a lunch?
I decided to pack a lunch anyway.
It is only one week into the summer and I have found myself to be a little stressed. My plan was to do nothing but I am not sure what that means.
When you do nothing, what exactly are you doing or not doing? Boy, do I need a philosopher today. (Where is Dr. Phil when you need him?) And I suppose the biggest question is, how do you define nothing?
To define nothing, you have to say something, and something certainly is not nothing. So how do I know when I am doing nothing? If I do anything, does it cancel out my goal of nothing?
To show how desperate I was, I decided to ask the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.
"How do I know when I'm doing nothing?" I asked her.
She looked at me with one of those strange looks I have become so familiar with and just stared at me for a few moments. Then with both hands firmly placed on her hips, she answered me.
"It is simply this. You are doing nothing when you are not doing what I asked you to do." Then she produced a thick notebook of things she wanted me to do. A “to-do-list,” if you please, for the summer.
It was at that point that it hit me. The only way you can do nothing is if you have something to do. If I don't have anything to do, there is nothing I can do. But if I have something to do and do not do it I am, in fact, doing nothing.
I surprised my wife by taking her to-do-list and clutching it to my bosom. I said to her with a smile, “Thank you for solving my summer problem.” With that, I walked off quite cheerfully, knowing that with this list in my hand, I now have a plan to do nothing for the summer. I love it when a plan comes together.
I then did something profitable. I turned to a favorite passage in the Bible. The apostle Paul knew a thing or two about doing things. Paul said, "I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:12-13).
It may be difficult to do nothing but it is absolutely impossible to do anything without Christ.
Dr. James L. Snyder, pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, lives with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage in Ocala, FL. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.