On Television

Christians have been pretty good about trumpeting the downside of watching too much television.

The primary objection to television one hears from Christians is that it shapes the wrong worldview. I’ve addressed that very issue here in another blog post.

But I think there’s an even better reason to turn off the television, particularly for the Kingdom-minded. It’s a reason I rarely hear Christians mention, and yet it is one that even non-Christians cannot dispute.

According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day. That is 28 hours/week, or 2 months of nonstop TV-watching per year. In other words, if you were the average American and you lived 65-years you will have spent 9 years watching television. Nine years!

What could you do with an extra 28 hours per week?

How about work a little longer to become excellent at your job, spending more time with your family, and more time in prayer and the Bible? You can do it all, and all it takes is having the discipline to not turn on your television, and if you do turn it on, to turn it off. And if you are not disciplined enough to do that, get rid of it. You can’t turn it on if you don’t have it and if you can’t turn it on, you don’t need to have the discipline turn it off.

What if I told you I went out to the movies for 4 hours each day? Watching television is no different. It’s entertainment just like the movies.

“But I get my news from the television.”  Well, I doubt you watch the news for 4 hours, and besides, getting your news from the television is the least efficient way to find out what’s going on the world. You only get what the network wants to show you, with no depth, and spread out between commercials. It’s a major time-waster. Get your news on the internet or your phone.

Here’s another thing: I don’t know very many really successful people who watch much television. Their time is too important, and besides, they didn’t get where they are by throwing away 30 hours per week on entertainment. If you are a Christian your time is more important than the most important non-Christians on earth because you carry the seed of the kingdom of God, but you won’t have time to plant those seeds if you are stuck in front of the television.

If Christians are really concerned about establishing and expanding the kingdom of God on earth, they need to be excellent and ethical in the workplace, better parents and better about building relationships with non-Christians. All that takes time, about 30 hours more per week. GS


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