Most of us treasure our leisure time as an opportunity to rest or to do something different. But leisure also offers a challenge: to use one's time in a productive, progressive way. And the challenge seems more widespread than ever, as many today face the problem of enforced leisure, not only through unemployment but also through reduced working hours.
Leisure, in its deeper sense, is not idleness. Neither is it license to abuse freedom. Rather, it involves the right use of freedom in deliberate, purposeful activity.
If one's free time seems to be a void of aimlessness, this situation can be healed through an understanding of man's true nature as God's spiritual image and likeness. Because man is God's image, as the Scriptures teach, he expresses the ever-active divine nature and has a God-given purpose. Each one of us, then, has a unique individual purpose and the ability to recognize and fulfill it.
Christ Jesus told a parable that illustrates the reward of resourcefulness. A man who was traveling abroad put his wealth in the hands of his servants. On his return he settled accounts with them. Two servants who used and thereby doubled the money entrusted to them were commended and rewarded, whereas the servant who buried his money was scolded, and it was taken from him. Jesus summarized the point: ''Unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.'' n1
n1 Matthew 25:29.
To the degree that we begin to perceive the abundant resources we already have as God's reflection, the rich qualities and capabilities of our spiritual individuality come to light. We find opportunities to utilize our talents, often in ways unforeseen. A new sense of purpose with worthwhile goals appears on our mental horizon. And, as Jesus indicated, the more we use our talents, the more our abilities and opportunities increase.
Purposeful leisure doesn't depend on the views of others. No other individual can outline for us just how we should improve our time. There is, in reality, but one Mind, one God, constantly imparting to us the ideas we need. But to become receptive to these ideas, we need to turn our thought away from the false , material sense of a helpless, idle, resourceless mentality separated from God. Man is not truly brain-centered. He is God-centered. As God's image he reflects the one ever-active Mind and its unbounded ideas. He manifests such qualities as intelligence, integrity, and love. To the extent that we claim this and look to our divine source, we'll find ourselves expressing these qualities in purposeful activity, and we'll see them increase in power and effectiveness.
In an article entitled ''Improve Your Time,'' Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ''Success in life depends upon persistent effort, upon the improvement of moments more than upon any other one thing.'' Further on she adds, ''If one would be successful in the future, let him make the most of the present.'' n2
n2 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 230.
If our primary goal is to reflect the ideas and qualities of God, good, we will never be lacking in ability and resourcefulness. Whether we employ our leisure time in some sporting activity, in enjoying good companionship, or in quiet rest at home or on vacation, the persistent use of our individual talents as they unfold from God will earn for us the employer's commendation in Jesus' parable: ''Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.'' n3
n3 Matthew 25:21.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE He which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. II Corinthians 9:6