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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Volunteer (11/23/06)

TITLE: Crackling With Energy
By Doug Apple


Good news! Americans are watching more TV than ever.

Thatís what the little statistic box says in Time Magazine.

And below it is another stat: Americans are more overweight than ever.

Why are we watching more TV than ever? To me itís obvious. I mean, at my house we can only get, like, 3 channels with our little rabbit ears, and we still donít have time to watch all the great shows. I canít imagine the pressure when you have hundreds of channels, and then TiVo to pick up the leftovers.

Sarcastic? Yes.

Why? Because we are a nation loaded with God-given talents and blessings. We are healthier and living longer, better food, purer water, and cutting-edge health care. We have all these advantages over our ancestors, and over most people in the world today, and yet for some crazy reason we are spending more time than ever in front of the TV.

Those of you who know me are saying, ďYes, Doug, but we know you. You have always preached against TV.Ē

Look. Itís not that I think watching TV is inherently a sin. Itís just that we can do so much better than that.

Jesus boiled our calling in life down to this: Love God and love people. When we do this God just literally pours blessings down on us. It happens when we serve others, when we invest our life into the lives of others, spending time with them, helping them, loving them. But if we are spending more time in front of the TV than ever, that means we are taking less time than ever to connect with the people around us.

When we park ourselves in front of the TV for hours on end, we are like an Indy race car sitting there idling. God has given us so much energy.

ďNow wait a minute. I donít have that energy youíre talking about. I just need to vegetate.Ē

Listen. You are crackling with energy. You just need to push down on the gas pedal and throw that thing into gear. You would not believe what you are capable of, if youíll just give it some gas.

In the Bible God says, ďHow long will you lie there, you sluggard?Ē* I donít know anyone who got up after watching a bunch of television and said, ďAh, that felt good. Iím so glad I spent a few hours in front of the TV.Ē Nobody says that. Instead thereís a little gnawing voice that says, ďWhat have I been doing?Ē

You get up and you donít feel rested and refreshed and energized. You feel lazier than ever. Laziness breeds more laziness.

Am I against relaxing? Of course not. We must have time to relax.

But itís like food. There is healthy food, and there is junk food. And there is healthy relaxation and there is junk relaxation.

Iíll never forget a friend who told me that she canít watch cop shows before bed, because they make her feel all nervous and rattledÖthe opposite of relaxed.

So yes, take time to rest and relax when you need it. But then get involved in something. Join a group at church. Volunteer at school. Listen, almost anything is going to be more productive and leave you feeling better than watching television.

I know some of you donít feel like you have much to offer. Youíre in poor health. Youíre not a sparkling socialite. You feel inadequate. But let me ask you, has God blessed you with even one thing? Then turn off the TV and hit the gas on that one thing. Maybe you are just to encourage the people on the frontlines. Just get up and do it.

Is my voice getting shrill?

Ask my kids, I am an anti-waste person. The Bible says that God has lavished His love on us. We are the privileged children. And more is expected from the privileged. We must not waste what God has given us, and one of the biggest blessings we have is time. And being anti-waste, one thing I am asking from you today. Please donít waste time in front of the TV.

* Proverbs 6:9

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Member Comments
Member Date
Catrina Bradley 11/30/06
What a great reminder. Guilty here - not so much tv, but I could substitue computer for that. Love your analogy to the idling Indy race. Step on the gas and throw into gear! I can associate with the "sluggard" verse too much. Gives me a little gnaw in my gut every time I read it. Thanks for writing this well needed article!
Donna Powers 12/01/06
A very earnest call to action. You express your opinion very well. Good work!
Leigh MacKelvey12/02/06
"Oops .. I did it again!" those lyrics go through my mind every time I'm a sluggard! I was convicted .. in a nice manner!

It's so true that being a slugard makes you feel more "sluggish".

I liked the way you wrote this commentary. I thought the humor was a good touch as in " Is my voice getting shrill?" That was great.

Loved it!
I agree completely, my children think I'm mean when I say no more tv, but they have so much more fun doing projects or just playing together. Well written, I liked it.
Esther Phillips12/04/06
I, too, think this is well written. I believe, however, that we can't put all people into one category. There are people who are grateful for a little TV. This could be shut-ins, recently bereaved, or very ill. I'm sure there are others that I'm missing in this category. Before my husband passed away, there was practically nothing that could hold his interest. Old re-runs gave him some enjoyment in his battle with Alzheimer's. While I agree that many of us could do more, I don't agree that TV is all evil. Thanks for writing. Your opinion came through loud and clear.