“You no longer need a good book, which he really likes, to keep him from his prayers or his work or his sleep; a column of advertisements in yesterday’s paper will do.You can make him waste his time not only in conversation he enjoys with people whom he likes, but also in conversations with those he cares nothing about, on subjects that bore him. You can make him do nothing at all for long periods. You can keep him up late at night, not roistering, but staring at a dead fire in a cold room. All the healthy and outgoing activities which we want him to avoid can be inhibited and nothing given in return, so that at last he may say…’I now see that I spent most my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked.’” -C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
Replace the “dead fire” with the glow of a computer screen, and Wormwood has described today’s situation with astute clarity. How often do we while away the time we have, of which we do not even know the final amount, engaging in really pointless activities? You see, in today’s world we have so many modern tools that have made communication so much easier, but these tools can be misused! Do we sit staring at Facebook for hours really for no reason at all, or is it used to keep up with friends and family, to connect to others, as it is meant to be used? OK, I understand that in the case of Facebook, the true purpose of it may in fact be generating advertising revenue for Zuckerberg and Company, but that’s a whole different matter entirely.
I think you get my point, however. Do we use our time wisely? Do we use it serving God and others, or ourselves? At the end of the day do we simply look back and realize that our it was spent in a sort of haze? I realize that we must take time for ourselves, but in the spirit of the great Benedictine ideal, everything in moderation! All that said, one of my favorite quotes is from St. Irenaeus of Lyon: “The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God.” Are we fully alive, or do we let idle periods and activities take up our time, talent, and treasure?
Yes, we must be judicious with our time. We need to be responsible so that we do not lose track of this precious commodity that we cannot get back. This includes some planning. In this planning, however, there must be room for flexibility and an openness for God’s grace to work in unknown ways in our lives. In other words, we need to try our best to organize our time well, but also stay open to the adventure that is life.
While I wont make this a “New Years Resolution” since I personally think that these “resolutions” are often discarded quickly, I will try to make it a goal to utilize the precious gift of my time in a more worthwhile manner so that I may try to give glory to Him above all else. Will I fall? Of course I will. I need to at least reach for this goal though, and rely on His grace. We all need to strive towards Him.
As the New Year dawns, how will you use your time?
Now excuse me while I go check Facebook for the 2,374,956th time today…
Pax et bonum.
h/t to Faith, Hope, and Love