By V. E. Inniss
Awake thou that sleepest
The book of Ephesians was suggested for devotional study to readers whose desire it is to pursue systematic study of the Bible within a scheduled time period. I dare say what a beautiful book it is in its rich admonitions and teachings.
The four words that I have chosen to use as my topic for today could be found in this verse : “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead. Christ shall give thee light” (Eph 5:14) it has a clarion call about it. If that is what a reader is listening for in support of a worthy cause – respond.
Study it more in depth and you will agree it has a word for the sluggard as well, among others. Whatever is your interpretation it is an invitation for mature readers and analytic thinkers to join me. Welcome!
By way of introduction let us look briefly at sleep. Ironically a lot of folks over fifty it is said, see sleep as an unproductive waste of time or a sign of sloth. However, sleep experts see sleep as a restorative daily health tonic, an ally of the alert, the ambitious and the long – lived.
In fact, researchers suspect and are investigating a direct link between sleep deprivation and disease. Several researchers have connected insufficient sleep with less – efficient immune system functioning, possibly via a reduction in activity of NK cells – natural killers that go after invading viruses.
Some people including politicians and persons skilled in the technique and art of manipulation and brain washing may very well be adulterating Shakespeare’s words “If music is the food of love, play on” adopted to read as follows: “If sleep diverts your mind from thinking on serious issues affecting the nation – sleep on!”
NOT SO FAST
Solomon would say to all of us, don’t give in to that tranquillizing lullaby. Judge it for yourself based on this verse: “Love not sleep lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes. And thou shalt be satisfied with bread” (Prov 20:13).
In other words, Solomon would rather say: Though we must sleep yet love it not as those do, that hate business. Love not sleep for its own sake, but only as it fits for further work. And when thou art (we are) awake, look up, and do not let slip thy our opportunities. Let us apply our minds closely to our business at hand. Be not slothful in business.
What I find rather interesting is the word “poverty” mentioned in Solomon’s admonition above. In that context he may have similar words, slothfulness, laziness and the like in mind.
Volaire wrote: “Work banishes three great evils, boredom, vice and poverty.” Throughout the Bible we are encouraged to be people of diligence, committed to the tasks in life that need to be accomplished. Some, however do not consider this a privilege, but a drag. For those folks, the laziness is a undeniable reality. Work is a privilege, a challenge to indolence, an answer to boredom, and a place to invest one’s energy….not to mention to provide for our physical needs, security of work is another story.
Solomon in his wisdom seems to be suggesting that the sluggard has trouble getting started. Note these words: “How long ill you lie down, o sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest. – And your poverty will come in like a vagabond and your need like an armed man” (Prov. 6:9 – 11). There is no substitute for hard work. It is a fact that God gives every bird its food, but He does not throw it into the nest. As humans let us work as if success depends upon ourselves alone. There is much dignity in work.
Awake means just that. We became aware of something, conscious processes and mental activity.
Each of us knows what it feels like to be hungry, to have a headache, to sense the burn of a finger. Each of us knows what it feels like to be praised or reproved. Each is aware of his/her own anger and fear, excitement and fatigue; no one else has full access to awareness. An individual’s perceptions of his world, his memories, his dreams, his pleasures and pains belong to a private world the world of his own consciousness, accessible to self – observation or introspection.
But there are states of awareness of which two states – waking and sleeping – are the most familiar. It turns out from a psychological perspective that they are by no means simple ones. Within them various kinds of alternatives can occur.
Bear this in mind, not all waking states are alert. It’s possible we can find ourselves just staring, not examining anything, but looking blankly at nothing at all. There is a difference between a mind being very active and on another hand being almost free of thought, kind of hypnotized – practically blank passively waiting for something to be suggested.
Here is the question, are we as citizens fully aware of what is going on around us? Put another away, is there a sense that we are in a similar situation like passengers on the doomed Titanic years ago in imminent danger of crashing on icebergs yet they were lulled into believing the ship was unsinkable. Hence the clarion call to wake up.
For starters do we consider ISSUES? Lots of issues are floating around requiring analysis, indepth discussion and independent thinking. Our greatest need is for our leaders to teach people how to think – not what, but how, Bertrand Russell wrote: “Many people would sooner die than think.”
Finally, we need to promote and foster respectful dialogue and discussion. Constructive criticism is not a bad thing. It is far worse to muzzle a people since it is similar to a pressure cooker with clogged/blocked relief valve and vents. Got the picture??
“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism” (Norman Vincent Frale)
Love not sleep lest thou come to poverty says Solomon. Wake up! Speak up factually but respectfully.
You have brilliant idea, talents and potential if only we would get out of our stupor. Rise and shine.