Learning to be “Out of Time”

November 4, 2015

It’s not uncommon. I’ve heard it from students I spend time with. “I don’t have enough time!”

Whether it’s time for studies or time to clean up their living space or time to find a job or time to hang with friends or (what is more important to my way of thinking) time for life with God, time seems to be at a premium.

A recent study released by Common Sense Media out of San Francisco reports that older teens spend, on average, over eight hours a day on “entertainment media.” They’re checking social media, scrolling through and listening to music, watching online videos, chatting and texting with others. That’s more time than they typically spend sleeping. And that doesn’t include the time they’re using their smart devices for (supposedly) school-related work.

I think the tendency will be to put the blame on the accessibility of so many electronic devices and diversions. But I wonder if there might just be another component worth considering.

Jesus said, “Everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). That’s has some serious implications. The idea seems to be that everyone learns to do life the way he or she is doing it because of the influence of those she or he is modeling after.

That then drives me to consider the possibility that the distractibility and loss of time that has become such a challenge to growing young adults might be, to some degree, something learned . . . from older adults.

I have a lot of meetings in coffee shops and casual eateries these days. I see a lot of people with time on their hands. But that’s not all that’s in their hands. Even when sitting with another person, so many people still have their phone or tablet in their hands. And, it’s not just the young people or the older teens. It’s the adults. For every fifty people I see, there may be two or three who will have a book. And of those few, maybe one has a Bible.

I’m not saying that every time a Christian is out in public or meeting with a friend he or she should have a Bible open. But I do wonder: What is the growing generation learning from watching those who have “gone before”? Do they see many (or any) who are intentional about turning off the electronics, opening the Bible, reading Scripture, and making a spiritual—rather than a social media—connection?

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