Americans are becoming known as colossal time-wasters. Why? Because we are constantly seeking the next big thrill. Kids often ask their parents, “When are we going to do something fun?” So, we seek to be entertained. Americans are the ultimate consumers. We “consume” everything. But, I’m here to tell you that I believe we waste time.
I’ve thought a lot about this through the years and yes, I know that I’ve been accused of not wanting to have fun. But, that’s not true. I enjoy life. I have “fun.” I really do! But, I don’t want to have fun at the expense of wasting time. But, how in the world do we do this? I mean right now…at this very moment…I’m typing these words. Is it a waste of time? Well, let’s see? Is it going to edify the kingdom of God? (I’ll let you decide… I can only hope it does.)
So, you might ask, “Is that your litmus test, Kevin? It’s a waste of time if it doesn’t edify (build up) the kingdom of God?” Well, I’m partial to the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
Think back to why God created mankind (Adam and Eve). Did He need us? No! He wanted us! And the most ultimate fulfillment of this life is to glorify Him. Does that mean that I’ve got to be working all the time and never relax or play with my kids or go on vacation. No, of course not. I sincerely believe I bring God glory when I play with my kids or even at times when I’m resting. But how much play, fun and rest is necessary and needful?
This is a pretty neat chart of how we spend our money and time:
At the bottom of the chart you’ll see how much we spend on entertainment. It was going up like a rocket until 2009 (when the study was completed) and the economy tanked.
Alexander Atkins reported the following in his article for “aBookShelfz:”
During the Great Depression, Americans turned to low-cost entertainment for a brief escape from the harsh reality of poverty and unemployment — listening to comedy, drama shows, and sports events on the radio, cinema shows, dancing to music from big bands and jukeboxes, playing board games, reading newspapers and comics, reading books from libraries. Going to the cinema was especially important to Americans trying to forget the sights and sounds of poverty — at the height of the recession 60-80 million people attended a movie at least once a week. Tickets cost 25 cents for a matinee, 40 cents for an evening ticket, and 10 cents for children. Director Carlos Stevens observed: “Throughout most of the Depression, Americans went assiduously, devotedly, almost compulsively, to the movies… the movies offered a chance to escape the cold, the heat, and loneliness; they brought strangers together, rubbing elbows in the dark of movie palaces and fleapits, sharing in the one social event available to everyone.”
Internet access: $81.5 billion Music (concerts, cds, mp3): $19.8 billion Movies (theater, dvd, downloads): $30.9 billion Television (subscriptions): $92.9 billion Books (paper and ebooks): $32.5 billion Games (console, mobile, online): $16.4 billion Magazines (paper and digital): $21.3 billion Newspapers (paper and digital): $9.7 billion.
Wow! We like our fun, don’t we? So, how can we keep our desire to be entertained and “kill time” in balance? The Word of God is always the best place to go. My favorite verse on the subject (and there are many) is:
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16
In fact, those two verses are going to be our new “memory verses” at the Brown house. I’ll be printing those out and taping them to the door posts, refrigerator and bathroom mirrors.
Why? Because we need to understand that time is a gift from God. Ask someone who’s old how valuable time is to them. Ask someone who has terminal cancer how precious time is to them. The Bible says, “making the best use of the time…”
So, what’s the best use of time in your life? How do you spend your time? How do I spend mine? Can we have fun? Yes! But, what are we doing to glorify God? Can we have fun and glorify God? Yes, I believe we certainly can.
Okay…here’s where the rubber hits the road. How much time should we spend watching TV? On Facebook? On Pintrest? Sending Instagrams? Reading blogs (ouch…like this one… ;))? Hunting? Fishing? Shopping? Sleeping?
Yes, there are a bazillion people who waste a ton of time sleeping. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that sleeping is bad… It’s not. We need around 8 hours each night. But, I know folks who don’t work a job and our on the government’s dime (mine and yours actually), who sleep 12-13 hours a day. Folks, that’s not making the best use of the time.
So, perhaps we need to look at our lives and at that of our family and children and ask, “Am I killing time? Is this the best use of my time? Is this endeavor going to bring God glory?” You see, dear reader, I’m getting older and I’ve wasted a lot of time in my life and I don’t want to do that anymore. We only get one ride on this merry-go-round and I want to stay on my horse.
I’ll close this little diatribe, (because I don’t want to be accused of wasting your time :)), with the words of one of my favorite actors of all time. The Duke! John Wayne…
“Slap some bacon on a biscuit and let’s go! We’re burnin’ daylight…”