Spirit of Grace Ministries
Spirit of Grace Ministries
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In Defense of Boring Guys

Boring, Nerdy Guy

by Dennis Pollock

My wife and I watched a romantic movie the other night featuring a plot which romantic comedies have been using since the existence of the genre. The plot involved a pretty (naturally) young lady being pursued by two men who could not have been more different. The first guy was a medical doctor, seemingly near-perfect. He was loving, thoughtful, polite, hard-working, and thoroughly decent. Additionally, he was quite handsome. The second man worked in a coffee shop and was more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants fellow. When they first met, the lady ordered a certain type of coffee from him which he refused to serve to her. He felt her personality fit some other flavor of coffee and after some bickering she walked out of the coffee shop irritated and frustrated.

But as romantic comedies have a way of doing, the script eventually led the lady to get interested in this coffee-shop worker, and by the end of the movie she broke off her engagement to the reliable, thoughtful, polite doctor to presumably marry the somewhat rude, party-going, fun-loving barista. This theme of a choice between a responsible, hard-working, but slightly boring man and a fun-loving, wild and crazy, high-energy man is frequently seen in romantic comedies and they always end up the same way: the girl rejects the boring guy in favor of the “fun guy” who is a bit naughty and irreverent, but sure knows how to have fun. This theme plays out with such regularity that viewers can see the end coming from the first minutes of the movie. It seems clear that in the mind of Hollywood screenwriters, fun and spontaneity trump responsibility and decency every time.

It Happens

I must admit, it is not an altogether unrealistic idea. I’m sure that in real life, many a young lady has chosen excitement and fun over responsibility, diligence, and courtesy – but much of the time they have lived to regret it! What may appear exciting and fun in a man in his twenties will often morph into immaturity, laziness, and infidelity in his thirties, forties, and beyond.

In truth the qualities which Hollywood seems to find boring: a strong work ethic, politeness, a tendency toward careful organization and positive routines, self-control, respectfulness, and reverence, are some of the very qualities which the Scriptures insist should be built into the lives of all those who follow Jesus Christ and live as children of God. Hollywood may consider such men too safe and boring to be worthy of her heroines, but in real life these are often the kind of men who make the very best husbands – men who are loyal to their wives, who show them respect and devotion, and who provide a safe family atmosphere which allows both their wives and their children to thrive. Let’s consider some of the “boring” qualities which the Bible insists upon, in both men and women.

“Six Days Thou Shalt Work”

First, the Bible highly commends a strong work ethic. Fun people typically aren’t hard workers. They are so engaged in their social activities that they do just about as little as they need to get by and support their fun lifestyle. God is incredibly pro-work. When He established the Sabbath as a day of rest, He also commended a busy six-day work-week, saying, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God” (Genesis 20:9). We rightfully focus on the command not to work for one day of the week, but sometimes we forget that there is an implied command that we should be busy working diligently the other six days. It is no sin to have a restful two-day weekend, but neither is it wrong to work very hard six out of your seven-day weeks.

In Proverbs we read: “The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor” (Proverbs 12:24). The message is unmistakable: work hard and you’ll end up on top; neglect work, and you’ll have it hard. The apostle Paul wrote, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). He also declared: “Aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing” (1 Thessalonians 4:11, 12).

In the eyes of many, hard work is simply no fun at all. Putting in long hours at tedious and repetitive work may be OK for the nerds, but for all the fun guys and gals, this is just not their thing. Sometimes young men and women have a hard time settling into a career because they are so determined that their life’s work should be glamorous and exciting. So they never even consider rewarding professions that pay well and which would make them quite comfortable, but spurn them as lacking the pizazz to suit them. Rejecting such careers, they end up vainly shooting for the moon, hoping for the perfect job, and flitting from job to job thinking that their dream job is right around the corner. Often that corner never appears. They struggle financially all their years due to their unwillingness to settle for a job that wasn’t the fulfillment of all their starry-eyed dreams.

Be Faithful

Another Biblical concept which may seem a bit boring to those whose goal is fun and excitement is the Biblical idea of faithfulness. Throughout the Scriptures we find two different thoughts about faithfulness: Number one: God is faithful, and number two: we are commanded to be faithful. Faithful means reliable, consistent, regular, constant, steadfast, loyal. The Bible tells us: “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). This is great news to the human race. When we enter into a relationship with God through trusting in His Son Jesus, we find that our Heavenly Father is totally reliable, steadfast, loyal, and constant in His love for us and in His working in our lives.

God is never moody, never capricious, never impulsive, and never flighty. His great affection for His children and His attention toward His children is one hundred percent constant. When we need Him, He is always there. When we are in desperate straits, He is always available to help. He is never too busy, never in a bad mood, and never finds our puny little lives and scrawny little needs too small for His attention and response. Our circumstances may change but He never does. He says, “For I am the LORD, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6). Most of us have known friends and family members who are moody and difficult. If you are with them on a good day they can be funny, lovable, and the life of the party. But if you catch them on one of their bad days – look out. At such times they are mean, indifferent, uncaring, and aloof. But it is not that way with our God. He is the same kind, loving, righteous, just, tender-hearted heavenly Father to us today that He was yesterday, and will be tomorrow or thirty years from now. And so it is with our Lord Jesus. The Bible declares: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Just as God is faithful, we are called to be faithful as well – faithful to God and faithful in our human relationships. Jesus tells us that if we do things right, at the end of our lives we will hear God tell us: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Not good and talented servant or good and beautiful servant or good and intelligent servant, but good and faithful servant. A faithful servant is a reliable servant, a consistent, steadfast, loyal, always-available, always-dependable, always trusting, always-obeying servant. This is what God wants and expects, and this is what Christ in us can produce.

Reliable, Unexciting People

But reliable, steadfast, consistent people are not really the most exciting people. Faithful people make it a point to be on time for appointments. They work hard at their jobs. They are self-disciplined and build righteous patterns and habits into their daily lives. They usually aren’t the life of the party; they typically go to bed early and get up early, they are comfortable spending long hours at tedious work. They don’t watch television all day; they don’t get drunk, they don’t take drugs, they don’t tell dirty jokes, they don’t put people down in an effort to get a laugh, they show up when they are supposed to show up, and they volunteer to help out in tasks that are neither glamorous nor fun.

These types of folks would make lousy stars of reality television. They are far too boring for that and there is not nearly enough drama in their lives. They just go about their business living responsibly, fulfilling their duties, and keeping Paul’s charge to “mind their own business.” But they are precisely the kind of children that our God desires. They do not die of drug overdoses, they do not end up going to rehab, and they do not wear glittery clothes that cost thousands of dollars. They are usually not famous, nobody ever asks for their autographs, and they do not stand out in a room full of people. But the decency, the rock-solid character, and the gentle compassion for others make them a star in heaven’s eyes. They bring glory to God, not through their razzle-dazzle, but through their day-to-day faithfulness to God, to their family, and to their friends.

My dad was such an individual. He was never a fashion plate. He was a quiet man who never sought the spotlight; indeed, he eagerly tried to avoid it. He always showed up for work, paid his bills on time, was faithful to his wife, my mom, and put up with my teenage attitudes, probably more than he should have. I always knew that if I needed help he would be there in no time flat. He was not overly affectionate; it wasn’t his way. He didn’t tell me every day that he loved me. He didn’t need to. His actions and his constant commitment to me and our family spoke far louder than any words. And he was faithful to God, to his church, and to reading his well-worn, black, King James Bible.

Beyond Personality

You might think that I am talking about a certain type of personality here, but that is not the case. God’s children come in many different flavors and personalities. Some are quiet, some are talkative, some are laid back, some are driven. Faithfulness does not have anything to do with a personality type; it has everything to do with consistency.

When some men and women come to Jesus, they are incredibly lacking in this area. All their lives they have been flighty, scatter-brained, impulsive, and unreliable. But that’s OK. The faithfulness we need is not our own faithfulness anyway. It is the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. He is the One who is called “Faithful and True.” And as we walk with Him, and He lives in us, measures of His faithfulness will begin to trickle out into our lives. At least it will probably begin with a trickle. But give Him time. As the years pass, what began as a trickle will turn into a gusher, and those who started out as the most fickle, inconsistent, unreliable, unfaithful of people will become steady, dependable, and constant in their devotion to God and in their relationships with their family and friends. “Christ in us” is truly the hope of glory, and He is likewise our hope of faithfulness, love, self-control, and every other virtue we need.

When Jesus healed people, He sometimes commanded the lame to walk or those with paralyzed arms to stretch them out. At first glance this seems highly unfair. Jesus is commanding people to do the very thing they cannot do. But as they made those first halting efforts, they found that they could do it after all. That which had formerly been impossible was now happening. It turns out that with Jesus’ command comes His power and His enablement. So it is with His command to us to be faithful. He says, “Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). But He is not asking the impossible. That which He commands He will also make possible by the power of His grace. Some may call us boring, but God calls us faithful.



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