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TV - the great thief of life and time

Wasting your life away

It was sometime in the summer of 1961 or 1962, as I was in the 7th or 8th grade. I can’t remember the exact date, but I do remember that it was in the summertime. Dad was in the Navy at that time and we were living in Key West.

We had just finished cleaning up the kitchen from supper and my parents and two brothers were gathered in the living room around the TV. And it was a black and white TV, since we didn’t yet have a color TV because of the very high price at that time.

As I walked into the room and saw my family all glued to the TV set, the Lord spoke these words to me, just like I was having a verbal conversation with someone. He said to me, “Son, don’t waste your life in front of a TV set.”

Little did I know at that time the importance of that directive.


TV steals quality time with others

TV can be a time thief, taking away the most valuable asset you have to live life with, especially where really valuable relationships are concerned.

Although TV now has some educational and Christian religious programs, the TV was first promoted as an entertainment feature. “Relax and escape the world! You have had a busy day, so you need something to help you unwind! Escape your world and see how other people live. No pressure, just good old fun and entertainment.” Research has shown that around 55% of Americans watch TV in their leisure time.

While you escape reality for the time you are watching TV, once the TV program is over, you are once again put back into reality. You temporarily live a life through someone else, based on a script played out by actors, with an outcome that adds little or no value to your life. So now, what little time you had available to spend building a meaningful relationship with your family, and God, is used up, gone forever.

Even if everyone who is important in your life is in the same room watching the TV together, there is no interaction between the people in the room, and therefore no meaningful relationship being formed. The only interaction was between the TV and the people watching.

Some would falsely believe that this is spending quality time with your family, doing something together. But in reality it was only isolated minds interacting with false characters, actors, who were just putting on a show. It was no more productive than if everyone was sitting around and watching a front load dryer go round and round.


TV can become a god

Being entertained by the TV, or internet, or video games can become such a habit for some that it literally controls their lives. It becomes their god, their number one priority.

According to various studies, the average American adult spends around 35.5 hours per week watching TV; senior adults spend about 50 hours per week; young adults, about 20 hours per week. Doctors and researchers claim that 3.5 hours per day is excessive.

It is not just TV time that is a concern. Average daily internet activity worldwide averages 6 hours and 42 minutes (this accounts for 100 days, or 27% of available time for a year), with 3 hours 14 minutes spent on mobile devices. Social media averages 144 minutes per day.

Video games use 6 hours and 20 minutes per week average. Talk about wasted time! You can spend hours upon hours in video games killing the enemy, or building empires, or even just chasing a character around, but in the end it adds no real value to your life.

There are no rewards or trophies given in Heaven for the most hours spent in front of a TV set, or the most points scored from playing video games. There is, however, accountability for the use of the time you were given.


TV steals your time available for knowing God

Not only does TV steal valuable time in relationships with others, more importantly it steals quality time with the Lord. God created us to have a relationship with Him. That is why we were created in His image. Humans have that unique advantage of purpose over all of God’s creation.

In the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), the foolish virgins were rejected by the groom because they were not ready to meet the bridegroom. They had not taken the time to get to know Him, even though they knew He would be coming at any time.

When they eventually returned to meet the Lord with their lamps full, the Lord’s reply to their request to join the wedding was, “Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.” He rejected them.

Who knows; maybe they had spent their time foolishly watching game shows or soap operas on TV, before realizing that maybe they might just need to spend some time getting to know the One they were betrothed to and would spend eternity with, and He knowing them.

No doubt the devil had deceived them as to what their priorities were to be. Knowing Jesus was not first in their lives, they must have placed some other god before Him.


Our time is limited

Again, TV is a time thief, robbing us of the most important thing in life – our relationship with the Lord and with others. We have only 24 hours in a day, this is not that much when you consider time needed for sleep, eating, and time to and from work. You can’t squeeze more time into a 24 hour day: 24 hours is all that God has allotted.


How much time does God get?

With so much time taken up by TV, internet, and video games, it is no wonder that the average Christian only spends one hour per week reading the Bible, 2-3 hours per week going to Church, and less than one minute per day in prayer. Not much time to get acquainted with the Lord in that short of a time schedule.

Today it appears that we have a powerless, fearful Church, ignorant of who they are in Christ, and the power and authority which we have in Him. The light of the Church is not shining brightly today as it should be.

Is this because we have let TV, internet, and video games cause us to spend more time absorbing the things of this world rather than the things of God, diming the brightness of His glory within us?


Are we good stewards of the time God has given us?

So, at the end of the day, where have you spent your time? In things that count for eternity or just wasted for eternity? Did you intentionally take time with others and with God, or did you let this time thief steal from you? Remember, we will be held accountable for how we used what God has placed in our hands, and time is one of them.

In the parable of the sower, Mark 4:18&19, we find the words of Jesus, “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke out the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”

No doubt that there are good things on TV, and on the internet, and some non-violent video games, but we still have to evaluate these contributions to our lives.


So ask these questions:

Has TV, internet, and video games wasted your time and choked out the Word of God in your life? Has it taken away your time of getting to know God?

If TV, internet, or video games have become first priorities in your life, then you have replaced Him to whom you have been betrothed.

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