Points to Ponder: Frittering away the time?

Points to Ponder
Frittering away the time?
By Pastor Whitmore
Weekly Contributing Writer

What have you been missing because you have no time to just think? Actually, we all have the time, we just misappropriate it.
I took a five-day bicycling trip from my Clear Spring home to Charlottesville, VA and back. I had many hours of pedaling through beautiful country; did a lot of thinking. Yet by day's end, I had failed to write down a lot of my thoughts. As I rode, I would drift from one topic to another without deeply reflecting on some of the interesting things my ride time was affording me to consider.
At the hotel each night, I would watch television to catch the news. I found it rather addictive though I am not one to watch T.V. at home. "Breaking News" was often the title of the day as a program would commence. Yet, the actual news was: there is no news. I watched three programs in a row; each covering the same issue. Same point / counter-point was made; sometimes with the same guest commentators. By evening's end, I had no more information from those hours of broadcasts than I'd normally get in a five-minute radio news summary. I wasted huge amounts of time to stimulate my mind with information that had little substantive value. Yet earlier that day, my own mind in quiet reflection in the saddle gave me a wide range of information. Just mulling over day-to-day observations was stimulating insights that, if taken time to explore, would deepen my understanding of life, the world around me, God, and of myself.
I pondered. Why do I resist the deeper, richer experiences and choose hours of pointless television programming? The purpose of these things is to compel viewers to stay in front of the box and watch the commercials. Pure manipulation - yet it works. Why is that so?
Since I had time to spend hours just thinking, pondering, reading and writing, it was obvious that I was choosing a compelling distraction. I was filling hours with television. I determined that it takes strength of will to sit still and really think for a length of time. A lot of us say we would like to "Just have time to think", as if someone steals our time away. I submit that we "fritter" our time away, as John Wesley used to say. We take the path of least resistance and allow the box to do our thinking for us.
Count the number of hours per day you put into watching T.V. By the end of the seven-day week, you may find you've spent the equivalent of one full 24-hour day at an activity that has yielded you precisely what?
Carrying this point further, why do people have more than one television? Why is it often in the center of the home? Why must the bedroom have one? Really...Why?
What real, live person in your actual day-to-day life has as many hours of your attention as your T.V. does?
There was a college fund commercial years ago that made a good point: "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." Kind of ironic that it was a television commercial.
Moses offers a worthy prayer:
"So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom"
(Psalm 90:12).
We do need to value our days, to determine the eternal significance of how we are investing the time - or just frittering it away. One can always make more money but no one can make more time. Even God does not remake a day. They come and they go. And then one day, they are gone. Time's up.
I am not picking on television, per se. I am reflecting on a behavioral choice we often make without considering what we are giving up by making it. How well are we counting the days, exercising our minds, and growing in wisdom?
I baptized a new believer on a late summer day. A month later, I found him crying in his hospital bed. The cancer was terminal. He cried, not because he would soon be dead, but because for decades he had failed to really live. His new relationship with the Lord had opened his eyes to it all. His time was up.
How well do we invest our time? Do we ever stop and think? Do we ever stop to just think?

Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring, MD (1/4 mile east of Clear Spring on Rt. 40). Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45 a.m. and 10:45 p.m., both days. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com.