Recently a post on Don't Waste Your Life blog dealt with the affluence of America and quoted Wilberforce: May 17, 2008 - By: Lukas Naugle
In 1797, William Wilberforce wrote A Practical View of Christianity in which he addressed the defective nature of the Christianity many middle and upper class people in England professed. Here is an excerpt that sounds as if it could have been written about today. It makes plain that affluence has a consistent effect on Christians in every age.
Yet thus life rolls away with too many of us in a course of shapeless idleness. Its recreations constitute its chief business…amusements are multiplied, and combined, and varied, to fill up the void of a listless and languid life; and by the judicious use of these different resources, there is often a kind of sober settled plan of domestic dissipation, in which with all imaginable decency year after year wears away in unprofitable vacancy. Even old age often finds us pacing in the same round of amusements which our early youth had tracked out. (99)We can all err in regard to idleness. And, along those lines, here is a good quote attributed to John Piper, from the Book of Shadow blog:
Jesus Christ is refreshing, but flight from him into Christless leisure makes the soul parched. At first it may feel like freedom and fun to skimp on prayer and neglect the Word, but then we pay: shallowness, powerlessness, vulnerability to sin, preoccupation with trifles, superficial relationships, and a frightening loss of interest in worship and the things of the Spirit
I am rebuked by the insights of Wilberforce and of Piper. On the other hand, I don't know about your neck of the woods, but at least where we live, alongside retired folks and other leisure lovers, there is a growing population of idle poor. Receiving various types of Government assistance, numbers of people are encouraged by this "free" income to avoid work at all, which would, for them, involve a minimum wage job. If they are able to make as much or more not working, then the conclusion is, why work? We have a new leisure class.
He was writing about Christians, nominal perhaps, so it's possible a parallel can't be drawn. Though there are some who claim to be saved, yet live, what is called here a "laidback" lifestyle, or one filled with excuses at any rate. Local tradition on the Big Island often has the wife working or getting Welfare and a boyfriend or husband unemployed. I guess it's no worse than any other type of unconfessed and unrepented sin that can linger in a redeemed life, until the Holy Spirit convicts. Paul warns against idleness, and even says not to associate with those who will not work if they are able. 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15