Real Help for Real Living: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

Anthony MarcianoWhen I was a kid, ok, when I was a teen, wait, a little older, when I was in college, one more time, when I was out of college and working, my mother looked at my work schedule and shook her head.  She saw how hard I was working. She pulled me aside and said, “Anthony (when my mother calls me Anthony and not Tony, I’d better listen), all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

I enjoy what I do and get great satisfaction from my job.  But my mother was right.   This Memorial Day weekend I resolve to have fun.  I decided in 1991 that it was one of my favorite holidays.  It was the launch to summer.  At that time, we lived close to the Jersey shore. We went to the ocean quite a bit that summer.

In 1992, I again geared up for another Memorial Day weekend.  I had great plans for the three days off.   But on Memorial Day, I got a call from my boss at noon.  She wanted me to stop what I was doing, drive to headquarters which was an hour away and train on a new project.  She was miffed when I explained I was eating lunch with my family, had to shower and could not get there any sooner than 3pm.  I was greatly annoyed because she was very disorganized.  She could have called me in on Friday and trained me on the new project allowing me to enjoy the holiday with my family.

After showering, I walked to my car to drive to her office. My sister followed me.  In no uncertain terms, she told me that what was wrong with me was Jesus wasn’t on the throne of my life.  If I just put him on the throne, everything would be fine.  I explained to her that no one ever listened to me.  She replied with, “I don’t have time to listen.  Just put Jesus on the throne.”  I drove off and we didn’t talk for several months.

When she did call me, she apologized.  We had a good talk about theology.  When we were in college, many of our Bible study leaders said, “Jesus is either Lord of all or He’s not Lord at all.”  It sounds cute (and can I add) but generates lots of guilt.  We were constantly confessing our sins.

Fast forward to more recently. I looked at the verse where the apostle Paul says, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect.”  Hmmm.  Paul wasn’t perfect.  The man who wrote most of the New Testament wasn’t perfect.  He couldn’t say that Jesus was Lord of all.  But neither would he say he’s not Lord at all.  He would say, “I’m not perfect.”

I find that when I speak about grace, people accuse me of preaching “cheap grace.”  It’s not cheap.  It cost Jesus his very life.  It’s not cheap but it is free. Like Paul, I finish that section of scripture by saying, “But one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

This Memorial Day weekend will begin with me walking with a friend on Speed Street. Then I’ll enjoy all the activities going on outside Charlotte Motor Speedway in preparation for the Coca Cola 600.  After that I’ll go home and watch the race on TV.  Monday will be a day of parades.  I have no plans to get called into work.