Rabid Fun

John Cowart's Daily Journal: A befuddled ordinary Christian looks for spiritual realities in day to day living.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I Feel Useless

Tuesday, I did nothing.

Well, I did go out for breakfast with my friend Wes, and I caught up with laundry washing four loads of cloth, but I didn’t do a lick of work.

Over breakfast Wes and I talked about Drama Queens in our respective families.

We concluded that if Jerry Springer ever wants to air a week-long, 24-hour-a-day marathon tv show, for material he’d have to look no farther than our families.

We could supply Dr. Phil with material for a season’s worth of shows too — without having to look up a single phone number.

Later, while waiting for washer and dryer to do their thing, I finished reading a book on Florida archaeology and I started reading a murder mystery.

But, I didn’t do a lick of work.

I let my work pile up. There’s plenty of it: I’m a third of the way through editing the Ward Diary; the fire department history waits my attention; my next novel sits in a file drawer; a shopping bag full of clippings to be sorted haunts me; and other projects both larger and smaller will not get done unless I do them…

Yet I did nothing useful all day long.

So, I began to feel guilty. Shouldn’t I be working? Doing something useful? Marching toward my goals? Writing great literature? Making a difference? Serving God, uplifting mankind, rescuing damsels in distress? Something useful?

After all, today is all we have. If I do nothing useful today, then that opportunity is gone forever. Water under the bridge.

Doesn’t God want me to be engaged in worthwhile activities?

Not necessarily.

I go to thinking about King David. He lived a lot of days (I forget how old he was when he died). On one of those days he killed a giant. With a slingshot. How long did that take?




Ever afterwards, history regarded David as a giant killer.

Most days in his life, David tended a herd of a thousand sheep, either watching where he stepped or scraping off his shoes. He practiced harp. He endured rebellious teenage children. He squabbled with other kings. He wrote Psalms. He peeked over his balcony to watch a naked woman in her shower… But, he is most well known for what he did on one single day out of a lifetime of days.

And in Scripture God calls David, “A man after My own heart”.

I feel useless.

But, I got to thinking that perhaps today I am lying fallow. That means… What does that word mean? I’ve heard it all my life but I’m not clear on the meaning.

I looked it up and it’s a farmer’s word referring to a “field left unplowed and unseeded during a growing season; cultivated land that is undeveloped but potentially useful; a basic way to improve soil fertility”.

In crop rotation, the farmer plants that field one year, then he lets it lie fallow for a year, then the third year he plants it with a different crop.

This process enriches the soil.

While the land lies fallow, underneath the dirt earthworms do their work to the glory of God while on the surface thistles grow and birds nest. Foxes and rabbits and badgers die in their burrows and their decay fertilizes the earth. Snakes move among the weeds catching mice. The land rests. Nature takes its course.

In useless times, invisible stuff is going on.

Good stuff.

The field comes back stronger than before because it has lain fallow for a season.

Not useless.


While all around me others are growing and thriving and bearing fruit and winning souls and proclaiming Christ and getting things done and moving mountains -- here I am lying fallow, undeveloped, unseeded, unneeded, resting for the moment, awaiting future use.

Nothing wrong with that.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:09 AM


At 7:09 AM, Blogger Pat said...

I love this post, it ministered to my soul in a most profound way. I feel I always have to do at least one productive thing a day. Where did that rule come from? Even my daughter's blog today (www.seasonsofgrace.blogspot.com) speaks of living life in balance. God must be speaking - he's saying that being productive doesn't always appear or manifest itself the way we think it should. Thanks John.

At 1:18 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

Great post. Here's to lying fallow .....and thanks to all or you guys who rescue us Drama Queens who are more often than not, Damsels in Distress!


Post a Comment

<< Home