As I thought about how much time is consumed watching television, my thoughts turned to Mother Teresa. Did she ever watch television? So I did some research on her.
In a typical day, 6:00 a.m. was the beginning of her public time, starting with attending mass. From 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. she was busy fulfilling her mission; going to different houses and meeting with people. After returning to the house where she lived, she had various meeting set up with other people. She also assisted people in various other ways, overseeing the operations.
Afternoon was when she had time for private prayer and then would meet with the sisters. That flowed into an open prayer service that others could attend. But usually from about 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. the sisters had a time of renewal. A lot of the work was grueling, so they needed re-energizing. After 4:00 p.m. the meetings, visiting people and assisting others began again, carrying on into the evening. No mention of television.
Not exactly a typical day for me.
I believe the television has created an imbalance in our lives. Iíve been in homes where there is a television in every room. I know people who watch one while they cook and eat. There is a t.v. in the bathroom Ö and one in the bedroom. Some people use television as sort of a babysitter, placing their children in front of it for hours at a time. Others use it to lull them to sleep and they leave it on all night.
Television prevents communication. When a personís eyes are looking at the t.v., you arenít making contact. Children (and spouses) are the big losers here. If they want family time, then they need to sit where the television is.
Donít get me wrong. I watch television. But I try to pick and choose carefully what I want to see and hear. When I weigh the good I accomplish in my life against how many hours I watch television, the good is the loser.
Iíve been a NASCAR fan for years. The races are usually on Sunday, so I record them and watch when we get home from church. But in the past year or two, Iíve had this little conviction niggling at me. We could go out to breakfast with someone from church; perhaps make new friends or help someone who needs a listening ear. Just how important is NASCAR in the face of that?
Iím still in the process of figuring out where God wants my line to be. But when I add up the hours that I read my Bible and pray, and compare that to the hours I sit in front of a television, itís not a good feeling.
Mother Teresa set a very high bar.
We are each given 24 hours. To stay healthy, we should sleep for eight of those hours. That leaves us 16. If we work eight hours a day, we are down to a balance of eight. I try to exercise for one of those hours. My goal is to stay healthy physically.
That leaves seven hours to juggle paying bills, taking care of children (and husbands) housework, grocery shopping, cooking, eating Ö and the list goes on. We are tired, sit down and turn on the television.
And now Iím back to the niggling conviction. If I have set aside one hour for exercise, where is my one hour (minimum) with God? Donít I desire to stay healthy spiritually? Of course I do. So now what?
How much of your 24-hour bucket is taken up by watching television? Iím just askiní.
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