On Being Occupied

I think often of this story from Jesus, particularly during times like spring break:

43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” (Matthew 12, NIV)

Jesus is speaking in a context that has nothing to do with spring break, of course.  But there’s a principle here for sure.  Something about occupation and location.  N. T. Wright sees it as a picture of temple reform and how just because you get things cleaned out doesn’t mean things are truly put to right.  Something, or Someone, has to come in and fill what has been straightened out.  Occupation will happen one way for another.  Better for the occupation to come from what is good and right and true.

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This is day two of spring break.  Grades are done.  I’ve set the work email for an “out of office” response.  I’m enjoying the rest . . . and the rest that comes from travel, really.  But I’m also mindful that I need to fill things up wisely and well.  Too often, work has become about a kind of preoccupation: there’s always something else happening somewhere else that can distract you from the task at hand.  That’s not healthy at all.  But neither is having absolutely nothing to do.  So having a healthy break means using the given time and space wisely.  The alternative could be disastrous.

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