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Using your time even better
Amber Albee Swenson
by Amber Albee Swenson
October 16, 2023

Pastor Mike’s latest sermon series may challenge you a bit. It changed my perspective.

Maybe you, like me, tend to justify the way you use your screens:

I mostly listen to Christian music and podcasts.

It’s not a problem for me.

An hour or two isn’t that big of a deal.

When my children were young, we were introduced to the good, better, best way of making decisions. It went something like this: When you’re hungry and Mom’s making dinner, a good choice would be to tell Mom you’re hungry and ask for an apple. A better choice would be to get a drink of water and see if that would hold you over. The best choice would be to ask Mom what you could do to help get dinner on the table sooner.

A lot of us don’t use our screens in a blatantly bad way. We aren’t looking up things we shouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t do better.

For me a quick scroll through Facebook often leads to Amazon. I didn’t plan to go to Amazon. I don’t need anything from Amazon. But Amazon and Facebook know that if they put the right outfit in front of me modeled by a beautiful woman or the household items that make the house look cozy or whatever I just told my husband about, I will likely follow the ad. And even if I don’t buy anything, I waste 10, 15, 20 minutes or more scrolling through all the things I don’t need on Amazon.

And who hasn’t gotten on their phone before bed thinking they’d do a quick scroll only to have that scroll last an hour? And after that hour, instead of the meaty Bible reading you planned for the night, you settle for a three-minute devotion and call it good.

An hour for the world. Three minutes for God.

Perhaps the greatest loss I’ve noticed since listening to this series is the missed opportunities to pray. My typical day includes hours of listening to Christian music and listening to one or two episodes of a podcast. Those things aren’t inherently bad. For the most part, they are great. But when my mind is constantly distracted by noise, I’m not praying. And who knows what kingdom work could be done, what hearts could change, what situations could and would be different if I had prayed?

So here’s the challenge for all of us. I’m all about small steps. When you finish reading this, put down your phone. Have a conversation with your heavenly Father. Ask him to help you make better choices. Ask him to open your eyes to things you should be doing that you may be neglecting. Ask him to help you put him in the top place in your life.

Then pay attention as he does. As you see things you could or should be doing, take note. We only have so many hours and so many days. When it’s all said and done, most of our time scrolling won’t bring about anything productive. Praying will. Reading the Bible will. Talking to the person next to you probably will too. Ten minutes doing the dishes instead of scrolling might help your marriage. Writing a letter to a young person in college might make all the difference.

Who knows what God will prompt you to do when you put down your screen and ask him to show you how to use your time better, or even best.