Read Isaiah 44
Focus on verse 9
Every once in a while I get focused on something that causes me to lose track of time. It can be any number of things that do this, and the focus changes from time to time. Most recently it have been reading articles and comments on my Face Book, or if I happen to find a book that interests me, I can easily get lost in a good story. As I think about this I confess I am not certain it is always a “waste” of time. Whether we are actually wasting time or simply consuming it for a specific purpose is perhaps a matter of opinion. For example there are times I will spend a few hours doing something that I think is at least mildly important, that someone else would consider a complete waste of time.
There is, however, one thing that I can confidently assure you is a waste of time every time. It is what Isaiah speaks of in today’s reading. Isaiah writes, “All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame.” (v. 9) In the remaining verses of the chapter he describes the process a craftsman goes through to fashion an idol made of wood or stone, and how ridiculously futile it is for that craftsman then to fall down to worship this image that can do absolutely nothing for him.
I admit that to see a person actually fall down in worship to an image made of wood or stone in the current culture we live in is rare. However, I would propose that many of us do worship lifeless idols of one kind or another, and in every case it is a colossal waste of time. For instance I have seen men who treat their automobile better than they treat their family, spending nearly every spare moment they have buffing, polishing, fixing and tweaking what appears to the thing that, at least at the moment is the single most important thing in their life. Little do they realize that this vehicle that they are spending so much time and money on will most likely be a pile of rust in some scrap yard in about ten years or less. It does not hear what they say – though they often talk to it as though it does. It has no life of its own, only that which the owner gives it when he or she drives it from place to place.
We do this with other things as well. Homes, family, friends, cell phones, video games, television, food, you name it, any one of these can become an idol to us that consumes our time and resources, keeping us from fulfilling that which God created us for.
None of these things are evil in themselves, many of them, like food and family are actually essential for us to live a healthy, fulfilled life. Nearly all of them can be used to make life better and perhaps even to glorify God when we keep them in their proper place. That can only happen, however, if we make the choice to keep God is His proper place of prominence in our life. He is the only One worthy of our worship. He is the only One who can actually respond and do something for us when we cry out to Him unlike any of the “things” we allow to creep in and replace Him as the central focus of our life.
Pursuing God is never a waste of time. Pursuing anything else in His place is always a waste of time, and…once again, God gives us the option to choose how we will spend the time He has given us.