WHEN EDWARDS SKIPPED DINNER
I love theology, preaching, pastoral ministry, scholarship and so on. One man whom I’ve studied for just over a decade now is Jonathan Edwards. This is what he wrote in his journal on January 22, 1734:
“I judge that it is best, when I am in a good frame for divine contemplation . . . that ordinarily, I will not be interrupted by going to dinner but will forego my dinner, rather than be broke off.”
This appears righteous, pious and praiseworthy to all of us. I mean, he’s so God-entranced that he needs to skip dinner to pray, right?
A TRAGEDY OF DISREGARD
But this is not praiseworthy. This is a tragedy. This is Edwards opting out of dinner with his wife and 11 children to go and pray.
What does this communicate to a wife who has diligently worked all day around the house, kept up with the kids and then labored to lovingly prepare a meal for him? (Hint: not good. She’s probably not thinking, Great! That’s what I was hoping for this evening!)
What does this communicate to his eleven children? (Hint: At least one of them is thinking, "Daddy will not be joining us again for dinner tonight because he is talking with Jesus".)
For the Christian all things are sacred—including helping around the house.
It is heart-wrenching news for a child to learn that Jesus takes Daddy away from the family to go do “holier” things than playing on the floor, telling bedtime stories, learning about their interests and snuggling. I want to believe that this was not a daily routine, but Edwards himself considers it to be “ordinary” behavior.
Christians, taking our walk with God is our first priority. Absolutely! Yet, certainly prayer, contemplation, and study can be done on one’s own time and at one’s own personal expense of sleep by getting up a few minutes early or in the truck on your lunch break rather than in the hours a husband and daddy is needed most, especially in the evening.
For the Christian all things are sacred—including helping around the house, kisses that go the distance, walking in the door and snuggling with the kids.