I have a different target audience for this particular article. Usually I like addressing the nonChristian, but this article isn't targeting them, it's targeting people like me. You're a Christian, you have been for a while. This note is regarding something that has been convicting me and maybe you as well, so I think it would be good to bring it into the open instead of hiding from it. Yes, hiding from it, for it's quite scary.
What is the meaning of life? If you are like me, you know the answer. It's to worship God. Doing anything less is quite meaningless.
Life is short. People are dying. Don't waste your time and money. That's what this is about, time and money. Told you it's scary.
I want you to ask yourself a couple questions. Is how you spend your time done to glorify God's name? Is it done in the realization that there are people's lives out there in peril of being eternally damned to hell?
Here's what I struggle with. I play video games. I'm not even going to try to defend myself, video games are a waste of time. While playing video games, I'm not reaching out to others, I'm not better equipping myself so I can reach out to others.
I will not deny that sometimes one needs to take some time to themselves, that constantly working can be exhausting. However, I can't remember if I was ever too tired from doing kingdom-furthering activities that I couldn't do something productive.
God gave us a day of rest for a reason, and there's absolutely no way I'll ever tell people they don't have time to relax. This article isn't for the hard working people who actually deserve the day of rest, this article is for lazy people like me.
Just today I arrived home from work. It wasn't a particularly hard day at work, but I still felt fatigued. I started writing this article this morning, I was pumped and ready to start the day! However, right now that energy is gone, and I feel like wasting time. But what if instead I used this energy on something beneficial?
The truth is though, you should feel like doing God's work in your free time. The closer you get to him, the more you want to please him. It's not a sin to play video games. But it is a sin to not do something that you know you should do. Chances are when you are playing video games you can be doing something more profitable for the kingdom's cause. If you really can't think of anything better to do. . . then I feel sorry for you.
I made a list of things that aren't sins, but are time wasters:
- Playing video games - this pretty much speaks for itself. I laughed when Mark Driscoll mentioned in the sermon that it didn't matter if you were a guild leader in World of Warcraft, that wouldn't help you get anywhere in heaven. I laughed because once upon a time I was a guild leader in World of Warcraft, an addictive video game that will hopefully see not a single RAM of my computer's energy.
- Watching TV - see, I don't mind the news so much, it lets me know what's going on in the world, and if I feel so inclined it'll give me something to pray about. It is also a good conversation starter when talking with others, and then one can do your best turning the conversation into an opportunity to witness. Knowing what is going on in the world will give you useful knowledge in approaching the world. That being said, it's no big deal if you miss the news, if something is so important it can't be missed, you won't miss it if you tried.
- What I have a problem with are all the pointless shows. I'm not just saying this because I don't have a television set at the moment. I still watch House religiously. But what are you really getting out of television shows that is profitable? Does it really matter who wins the Stanley Cup?
- Movies - I love movies. Perhaps they aren't the best way to fellowship with friends, but it's an easy way. We live in a world where movies exist. Sometimes one can take redeeming features of movies and use that to witness (those of you who are familiar with Mars Hill's Film and Theology will know what I'm talking about). But what is the reason you are watching movies? If you are just doing it for mindless entertainment then you are wasting your time.
- The Internet - its full of good and bad stuff. Sometimes even the good stuff can be bad if it's taken to the extreme. Take YouTube for instance. It's not evil, but it's easy to get distracted watching funny/entertaining videos and lose focus on what is important. The same goes for online games and forums that it could be easy to get lost in
I'm not sure if it's because I'm getting older or if it's because I'm realizing that it's pointless, but over the last year or two I've beginning to grow less and less interested in video games. For this I'm thankful, but I'm wondering if what other distractions will attempt to waste my time now.
I can't tell you that you should quit wasting time "RIGHT NOW!" Because really, that's unrealistic (God is a God of miracles, so it's not THAT unrealistic). But how about you take something on that you feel convicted about, and start to work on that one thing. Once that thing is mastered, don't worry, you'll always have something to work on, no one is perfect. It's alright to try to be perfect, but if you try to much at once you'll likely end up giving up altogether.
What I recommend is find something that is both fun and productive. What is your gift? Use it. In my case, I enjoy writing (I know, you would never have guessed). Perhaps you like playing an instrument, or singing, or drawing. If you enjoy it, do it, as long as you are doing it to the glory of the Lord.
Time is valuable, one only has one life to live.
It is said that one can tell what is important to you by looking at how you spend your money. So how do you spend your money? A more accurate question would be "how are you spending the money God has allowed you to hold on to for a while?" How much are you giving back to God? This doesn't just include tithes, this includes donating money to worthy causes and helping buy useful things for people who can't afford it.
Every penny I spend on a new video game is a penny that could have been better used by somewhere else.
Every dollar that is in your pocket can be used for good, for you are a servant of God. It's not wrong to be poor, but if you have an opportunity to make more money, do you have a good reason to turn it down? I mean, God uses people of all income levels, and it's not wrong to turn down a better paying job. But is the reason you are turning down the job out of laziness? This is one question I have asked myself multiple times.
Here is a (very) few things that I consider money wasters:
- Video games - it's a time waster
- Junk food - sometimes it's hard not to buy junk food, it seems to be cheaper than healthy food. But water's cheaper than soda. An apple's cheaper than a bag of chips. A homemade sandwich is cheaper than a hamburger. You get the picture. Life's short as it is, if you want to be productive in life you'll probably want to increase the chance that you'll live longer.
- Cigarettes - self explanatory
- Lotto tickets - I used to think "it's not that bad to buy lotto tickets. It's not a sin, plus God's on my side so that increases my chances. Plus if I win I'll be able to give so much money back to Him." But spending money foolishly is a sin. I'll tell you what. Go buy one lotto ticket. One line. Once. If God really wants you to win the lotto, you'll win the lotto. Didn't win? Didn't think so. Now stop buying lotto tickets God obviously wants you to spend your money elsewhere!
- New cars - used cars are half the price and sometimes they work even better. Just make sure you get them checked out by someone you trust before you buy one.
- Alcohol - You know what, you may have that one beer at the end of the day, it's relaxing and healthy. But you need to take care of your body, and drunkenness is a sin, so stop after that first one. If you can't stop after the first one, don't start with it either! As one girl told me at safe grad, "it's quite silly that I'm drinking so much, I'm not even thirsty!"
- Name-brand - can you really tell the difference? I mean, besides looking at the name? In some cases it's good to get the quality, name-brand item, as you want your things to last long. However, you'll need to ask yourself if there's really a difference.
- Books - if you aren't going to read it more than once, a library probably would have been cheaper (although if you want to support the actual author, go ahead and buy the book. I'm definitely not going to argue with you buying MY book, anyway)
Take a look at your closet. Do you have things in there that you haven't wore in the last year (that you haven't outgrown)? Probably safe to say that if you have shoes like these you don't need to go out and buy more shoes. I have video games I haven't played in a year. Probably safe to say I shouldn't go out and buy more video games.
Was this article a bit much? Well if you're the target audience, and you're like me, then you deserve it. If you're like me, then you'll find this article easy to ignore, simple mind over matter. However, sometimes when dealing with someone as stubborn as myself, one needs to give a good kick, over and over. Eventually the stubbornness will go away due to the pain.
Was this not painful? Let me finish with this then. People's souls are in danger, quit wasting your resources and get on with what you need to do!