Living Life or Documenting Insignificance?

ComicI saw this comic and it reminded me of the pride and presumption of imagining that swallowing toothpaste while brushing your teeth or being stuck in traffic is of compelling enough importance to others to interrupt their lives by telling them RIGHT NOW!

Here’s some (anonymous) examples from Twitter:

  • Brushing my teeth and tweeting :)
  • Off work, Eating Candy.....
  • I just finished eating pizza :D
  • I hate when the cleaning lady is cleaning the public restroom at the exact moment I want to go
  • I wonder what kind of apps Jesus would have on his iphone
  • just sneezed and burped at the same time
  • I have a runny nose now

If we had ears to hear, we’d notice the sound of a vacuum sucking time, coming from computers and phones and televisions and car radios and…lots of other places. Twitter is like most things. Used selectively, in moderation, it can accomplish a good purpose—maybe you get short pithy updates from family and people you care about, or perhaps prayer requests and thoughts and Scripture quotes that can help you live with a Christ-centered perspective.

But when social media and online time is out of control, like television watching or talk radio or sports or stamp collecting, it can end up wasting time that God tells us to redeem. Ephesians 5:16 tells us to “redeem the time” or “make the most of every opportunity.” We are stewards not only of the money God entrusts to us, but also the time. Let’s find ways not to waste it.

Get a lifeThe problem isn’t just what we are doing with our time; it’s what we are NOT doing with it. Where does all the time spent on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube and television and radio actually come from? Try keeping track of the time spent on all of these for a week. (See a blog I posted last year for some ideas and a PDF sheet you can print and use.) You may be stunned at the time you are spending on them. If you simply cut the time in half and asked God what He wants you to do with the other half it could have a revolutionary impact on your life.

My point isn’t that it’s wrong to tweet or Facebook or use the internet. I do, and I think it’s time well spent (partly because it’s really not much time and partly because of the opportunity to have some Christ-centered influence). All the time-users I’ve mentioned can have their place, but they can also become time-wasters, and often downright addictions.

As every counselor or recovery group will tell you, if you have a problem with alcohol, the best move is to stay away from it. If it’s a recurring problem, you have to drop it completely because you’ve demonstrated you can’t do it in moderation. Look up television, computer, internet, sports radio, Facebook and Twitter in a concordance. You’ll find no place in the Bible that commands you to participate in them. But you’ll find plenty of places that command you to be pure and to be a good manager of the life—time and abilities and money and opportunities—God has entrusted to you. Don’t squander what God has entrusted to you. Missionary C. T. Studd said, “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”  

The good news is that because most of us have so many time wasters in our lives, once we set some of them aside we will have a shocking amount of time to read God’s Word, meditate on it, read great books, listen to Scripture and audio books and teaching from God’s Word, go over and talk to your neighbor about Christ, or about anything else in order to establish a relationship with Him. We DO have the time for these things. The question is, are we using the time available, or are we pouring it down the drain on things that just don’t matter?

Fill your life with the best things, those that honor and glorify God. Then when you see how satisfying they are it will be easier to part with the things that drain, distract and sometimes obsess us. “In your presence is fullness of joy. At your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries