Friday, February 19, 2010

Keeping Recreation in the Proper Place

(FYI -I backdated this entry because I meant to post it yesterday to coordinate with the theme of the text)

(chart & following info on pg 8 of the 12/15/09 Watchtower)

You may need to adjust how you apportion your time if you are to remain joyful

Busy and Joyful in God's Service
Jehovah wants you to be joyful. (Psalm 100:2) As one of his servants, you are probably also busy...We live in critical times and are subject to many pressures, so you need to be well organized. In this regard, some of the apostle Paul's inspired counsel is particularly relevant: "Keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons, buying out the opportune time for yourselves, because the days are wicked." (Ephesians 5:15, 16)

In view of that wise counsel, how can you set realistic goals for yourself and balance personal study, family care, field service, secular work, and other necessary activities? ... Most of God's servants can buy out some time for vital activities from time spent on less important things. Ask yourself, 'How much time do I spend reading secular magazines or newspapers, watching TV, listening to music, or pursuing a hobby?' Such activities can be pleasurable but only when kept in balance. (1 Timothy 4:8) If you realize that poor time-management is a problem for you, take steps to get a grip on your schedule.

Time: You Can Not Save It, so Use it Well - a good article on time management, cutting down on clutter and getting organized.

(illustration on pg 97, of Isaiah's Prophecy Vol. 2)

The text not only mentioned keeping spiritual pursuits in first place, ahead of pleasure and recreation, but it also mentioned "false gods" ... which many people don't really tend to think about. Idolatry is easy to spot when you see someone literally bowing down at a temple or praying to a statue or carved image, but in the Western world, idolatry takes a more subtle form.

This scripture pretty much sums it up:
"Woe to those who are getting up early in the morning that they may seek just intoxicating liquor, who are lingering till late in the evening darkness so that wine itself inflames them! And there must prove to be harp and stringed instrument, tambourine and flute, and wine at their feasts; but the activity of Jehovah they do not look at, and the work of his hands they have not seen." (Isaiah 5:11, 12)

-Which basically boils down to putting entertainment, recreation, and personal pursuits in first place, leaving no time for spiritual things (which is also a form of idolatry) since God should always get first dibbs in our life...not the leftovers. That's the reason Jehovah rejected Cain's sacrifice but accepted Abel's ... because Abel gave the "firstlings of his flock" or his best (Genesis 4:4, 5)

The 3 areas that stand out to me the most in our society when it comes to idolatry are:

Materialism - worship/love of money & material possessions, etc.

Celebrity Worship - idolizing: Actors, Singers, Bands, Athletes, Politicians, Comedians, (any famous or prominent celebrity figure).

Entertainment/Substances - virtual media -(TV, internet, gaming, etc) alcohol, drugs, excessive consumption or time spent pursuing the "god of the belly" (Philippians 3:19)