Summary: We are bored. Feelings shut down because we strive for security and for status, and even for spirituality, but nothing works. Only allegiance to the risen Christ provides fulfillment.
Of all the diseases of our time, the most serious one is boredom. Of all the sicknesses this flesh is heir to, the most fatal is boredom. Not AIDS, not homicide, not heart disease nor cancer, but boredom.
Oh, I don’t suppose any mortuary ever tagged a cadaver’s toe with "boredom". I don’t suppose any obituary notice ever read "bored to death". I don’t suppose any doctor ever signed a death certificate, "terminal ho-hum." But boredom is nonetheless the most serious, most fatal disease of our time.
Think about it. We have learned how to insulate ourselves against feeling. We have learned how not to have passion for anything. We have learned how to put on blank faces and meet even the most wonderful of things with a cold blah. There are no longer any surprises for us. We are dying of boredom.
They’ve sent up another space shuttle; this one carried several people for several weeks, many miles up in the stratosphere. So what? Yawn.
Yesterday, on my computer, I got e-mail messages from Germany, Japan, Scotland, and Australia, instantly. Ho-hum. So what else is new? Anything good on TV?
Doctors can transplant hearts and lungs, livers and kidneys, just about anything. They are even talking about quick-freezing dying people so that they can be thawed out and revived when somebody invents the cure for the disease that killed them. What do we say to that? Yeah, OK. Give me a break. Double yawn and triple ho-hum. We are not impressed. We are bored with it all.
Why, we are so blasé, we wouldn’t even be impressed if somebody who was dead were to come back to life. We’ve heard that before too. Been there, done that. "Borr-ring."
But I am saying that boredom is a fatal disease. If we forget how to feel we will die. If we no longer have any passion about anything, we will shrivel up like last autumn’s leaves before the winter wind. Boredom is a killer. Boredom is defeat. And we don’t need defeat. We need to conquer. We need to win.
In the first century, the Church at Laodicea was scolded by the Lord because she was neither cold nor hot. Neither cold nor hot. These folks could no longer feel. They had lost passion, they didn’t feel any power. The Lord said to them, "You are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot … I am about to spew you out of my mouth." The church at Laodicea was infected with terminal boredom. Neither cold nor hot, neither fish nor fowl, neither here nor there, neither positive nor negative. Nowhere! Nothing and nada!
Life was no longer interesting; living was no longer zestful. No surprises. And no victories. Maybe no defeats, but no victories either. Just a deadly sameness, an everyday dullness.
Why? What happened? What happened to these early Christians? And is it happening to us? Where does the disease of boredom come from?
Let’s take a look:
One thing that numbs our feelings is our striving for security. Striving for security. We want to be financially and materially secure. But notice that as long as we are striving for security, we shut down most of our feelings. When material prosperity is the aim of life, we focus on stability. We do not take risks or venture out. When we are interested in material things, we play it all very, very safe. And we are steel ourselves against feeling very much.
The Lord says to the Christians at Laodicea, "You say, ’I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor ... " Listen again: "You say you are rich ’" but you are wretched, pitiable, poor."
Does that sound familiar? Do you recognize middle-class America in that? Hey, look at us, we’re doing all right. We have homes and cars and food on the table. We’re doing well. We’ve worked hard for what we have, and we mean to protect it. Like the Christians of Laodicea, we say, "I am rich, I have prospered … " ...and then the fatal flaw, "I need nothing." Did you catch that part of it? "I need nothing." Just leave me alone, I need nothing.
But the voice of the Lord wakes us up, "You do not realize ... that you are wretched, pitiable, [and] poor ... " Wretched, pitiable, and poor. We do not realize that, despite the size or our bank account and the horsepower of our cars, we are poor. We do not recognize that, never mind the square footage of our homes or the baubles in our jewel boxes, we are poor. "Wretched, pitiable, and poor" For if we cannot feel, we are poor. The issue is that if we are bent on striving for security, we shut down our feelings.