Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Don't Waste Your Life

Wow. Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper is a challenging, inspiring, incredible read. It is so packed full of insights; reading it a second time through would be time well spent.

One thing that got my attention was the way we waste our life watching television. Here is an excerpt:

Television is one of the greatest life-wasters of the modern age. And, of course, the Internet is running to catch up, and may have caught up. You can be more selective on the Internet, but you can also select worse things with only the Judge of the universe watching. TV still reigns as the great life-waster. The main problem with TV is not how much smut is available, though that is a problem. Just the ads are enough to sow fertile seeds of greed and lust, no matter what program you're watching. The greater problem is banality. A mind fed daily on TV diminishes. Your mind was made to know and love God. Its facility for this great calling is ruined by excessive TV. The content is so trivial and so shallow that the capacity of the mind to think worthy thoughts withers, and the capacity of the heart to feel deep emotions shrivels. Neil Postman shows why:

What is happening in America is that television is transforming all serious public business into junk...Television disdains exposition, which is serious, sequential, rational, and complex. It offers instead a mode of discourse in chich everything is accessible simplistic, concrete, and above all, entertaining. As a result, America is the world's first culture in jeopardy of amusing itself to death. (taken from 'Amusing Ourselves to Death' by Neil Postman)

In regard to the saying that when someone is dying, they never say they wished they had spent more time at the office, John Piper said we should also had this:

'No one will ever want to say to the Lord of the universe five minutes after death, I spent every night playing games and watching clean TV with my family because I loved them so much. I think the Lord will say, "That did not make me look like a treasure in your town. You should have done something besides provide for yourself and your family. And TV, as you should have known, was not a good way to nurture your family or your own soul."

He also said, instead of asking the questions: what's wrong with it? What's wrong with this movie? Or this music? Or this game? Or these companions? Or this way of relaxing? Or this investment? Or this restaurant? Or shopping at this store? what's wrong with going to the cabin every weekend? Or having a cabin? What's wrong with decorating? What's wrong with buying clothes?......This kind of question will rarely yield a lifestyle that commends Christ as all-satisfying and makes people glad in God. It simply results in a list of don'ts. The better questions to ask about possible behaviors is: How will this help me treasure Christ more? How will it help me know that I do treasure Christ? How will it help me know Christ or desplay Christ? The Bible says, "Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31) So the question is mainly positive, not negative. How can I portray God as glorious in this action? How can I enjoy making much of him in this behavior?

....is that convicting or what?


Katie said...

Wow. Very convicting. But thanks for sharing.

heatherbates said...

Excellent post! This is why you are on my favorites...and one of my favorite people! Hugs, Heather