Based on the title, you probably think this lesson is going to be about dogs, for they are often referred to as man's best friend. However, I don't believe dogs can accurately be described as such in our modern world. Canines may have been man's best friend 50 years ago, but today that friendship has been superseded in many homes by a non-living thing--television. That's right, I believe TV is more near and dear to the hearts of many than their pets. Do you believe me? I suspect that most people could adjust to life without their dog (or cat or any other pet), but how many people would adjust well to life without TV forever? If people had to choose between permanently giving up their dog or their television, I suspect most would let their furry friends go.
While you're considering that, chew on the following facts I read recently about Americans and TV:
- The average United States household has 2.24 TVs.
- TV is on an average of 6 hours 47 minutes in an average US home.
- 66% of Americans regularly watch television while eating dinner.
- Americans watch 250 billion hours of TV annually. The value of 250 billion hours at an average wage of $8 per hour is $2 trillion.
- Parents spend 3.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children.
- The average child watches 4 hours of TV per day.
- 70% of day care centers use TV during a typical day.
- When asked to choose between watching TV and spending time with their fathers, 54% of children (ages 4 to 6) preferred television.
- The average American youth spends 900 hours in school per year and 1500 hours watching TV.
- By the time an average child finishes elementary school, he has seen 8000 murders on TV.
- By age 18, an average child has seen 200,000 violent acts on TV.
- The average child sees 20,000 TV commercials in a year.
- The average person sees 2 million TV commercials by age 65.
- In 1993, 92% of survey participants said TV commercials aimed at children make them more materialistic.
- 59% of Americans can name the Three Stooges while only 17% can name at least three Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.
There are other pitiful statistics such as these that illustrate American enslavement to television. That's right, it's sad but true that many people are essentially addicted to TV. They cannot function without a large dose of it regularly. They allow it to control their lives via its influence (often for evil) and its vast consumption of their time. Unfortunately, there are even Christians who fall into this pitfall. I am certainly not against technology such as TV, computers, internet. cell phones, etc. However, when a Christian allows a thing to dominate his life, changes must be made.
I am reminded of what Paul wrote in I Corinthians 6:12 - "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any." In context, Paul is not addressing moral sins but things that are acceptable in and of themselves (e.g., eating food). Eating is necessary, but it is possible to become enslaved to food. Such is not good, and neither is enslavement to TV or any other form of entertainment. Christians are to only allow themselves to become enslaved to the Lord and His will!
Dear Christian friends, do you have the time to serve the Lord to the capacity that you want to and need to? If not, start examining the way you spend your time presently. Do you waste hours on end in front of the television? Devote this time instead to something eternally productive (e.g., studying your Bible, prayer, doing a good deed for another, teaching someone the gospel, etc.). If TV is your best friend, it will be difficult for you to be the kind of friend the Lord wants you to be. "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you" (John 15:14).