Tuesday, January 21, 2014

On Trivialities

While riding the bus home from classes earlier today, I overheard some urban youths talking about rap music and "whips" and other various other things that urban youths often talk about--all in a dialect of ghetto slang that only vaguely resembled English. I found it all to be quite "pedestrian" (for lack of a better term) and made me think about how much of the time and energy that young people spend on trivialities--video games, popular music, fashion trends, discussing aforementioned trivialities--the kinds of things that possessed most of my time back when I was teenager myself. 

It also made me think of John Piper's book, Don't Waste Your Life (Note: If you only ever read one Piper book, make it this one). The title of the book pretty much says it all. There's this interesting anecdote that Piper mentions about this couple that accomplishes the American Dream, earning a lavish six-figure income, eventually retiring to the Bahamas (or some other Caribbean island, can't remember) where they spend the remainder of the days collecting seashells. He then asks, on Judgment Day, when God asks this couple to give them an account of how they spent their lives, what are they going to have to show for it? "Look God, look at our seashell collection." Simply tragic, when you think about it.

Now, maybe collecting seashells isn't what tickles your fancy. Maybe you have something else that functions in a similar capacity. It could be sports. It could board games. It could be your X-Box 360. Whatever it happens to be, it's worth looking at the amount of time that goes into these trivial things, and whether it's taking away from worthier pursuits.

I'm not saying it's a sin to partake of any of these things. Oh, not at all. I happen to be a bit of a gamer myself, so I'm certainly not one to advocate chucking your gaming console into the trash. It seems that a few well meaning Christian brothers and sisters go a wee bit overboard and guilt-trip other brothers and sisters for these things. That being said, way too many of us who belong to the "millennial" generation are on the other extreme of spending an inordinate amount of time on these trivialities. It's hard to point this fact out to others because the moment you do, the "legalism" boogeyman gets trotted out as a reason not to worry too much about this admonishment.

To my fellow Christians, think about this: The New Testament says "you were bought with a price" (1 Cor. 6:20). What were you bought with a price for? So you could unlock all the achievements in Halo 4? Nope. The rest of the verse quoted says "glorify God in your body." What does glorifying God mean, exactly? It could be something as spectacular as ending world hunger or something as simple as making sure you've finished all your reading assignments for next week's lectures. Even the cereal you had for breakfast could be used to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31). Just make sure you're doing things with the intention of furthering God's Kingdom, and not just wasting your life on trivialities.

In fact, go buy yourself a t-shirt that says that. Go rock that t-shirt in public to the glory of God.

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