Some of my fondest memories of Romania are the long walks down the streets of the city, talking and laughing and enjoying friendships. My friends and I could have easily taken a tram or a taxi in order to arrive at our destination faster. But what would have been the purpose in hurrying? We had no TV to watch, no video games to play, nothing that had to be done in the next five minutes. So why not walk? Why not enjoy the fresh spring air? Why not talk on the way there?

When our free time revolves around constant entertainment, as is often the case in America, we miss out on what is best. We are enslaved to the fun of a fleeting moment, while missing out on relationships that could last a lifetime. The absence of constant entertainment is one reason many of my Romanian friendships seemed so much deeper than my American friendships. The Romanian friendships were built on quality time, good conversation, and honesty, whereas most of my American friendships were built on activities, hopping from one fun activity to the next, with very little time for quality conversation.

God has created us for more than shallow friendships that boil down to activities and entertainment that rob us of our time together. He desires us to have strong, healthy relationships with others. That will not happen unless we are spending time with people, not things.

Churches also must focus on people instead of entertainment. Some churches have chosen to wade in shallow waters, replacing the Word of God with a bombardment of fast-moving images on a big screen. Likewise, our church calendars are filled with so many programs that we hurry from one church activity to another: game night, choir practice, youth activities, dramas, movie night, softball games, etc. Of course, these activities can be good times of fellowship. But they can also sap us of our energy for true kingdom work and deceive us into thinking our busy calendar represents spiritual vitality.

IS IT WORTHY?

One evening in Romania, I went on a walk through the city. As I arrived back on the university campus, the sun was setting. I noticed a girl who had plopped down in the middle of the sidewalk, her eyes focused on the beautiful sunset. She looked at me and said, "It's worthy of stopping."

We declare something to be worthy by giving it our time and attention. Sports, movies, television, video games, shopping—all of these activities may be worthy of a place in our lives. But in a world in which people are bowing down to the Caesar of Leisure, spending so much time and energy in recreation and entertainment, Christians should intentionally seek to undermine the high status given to leisure by showing people that Jesus is more worthy.

For some, it will mean cutting out certain forms of entertainment completely. For others, it will mean sacrificing Sunday ballgames for Sunday worship. Our friends who are devoted to leisure might think we are crazy for cutting the cable cord, stopping our shopping sprees, praying at fixed hours, or missing some sporting events. Ironically, it is only when we put leisure back in its proper place under the lordship of Christ that we restore true sanity (the Apostle Peter calls it "sobermindedness") to our lives.

What we do with our free time shows who is king of our lives.

Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals

Copyright 2010 by Trevin K. Wax
Crossway Books
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers
1300 Crescent StreetWheaton, Illinois 60187

For more information about Trevin Wax visit his blog, "Kingdom People" here.