We don’t watch much television at our house. I will confess that I love baseball, and I’m a St. Louis Cardinals fan, so during the spring, summer, and fall, when the Card’s are playing, I watch most of their games. And, I like basketball, too. Watching the Golden State Warriors and Steph Curry play basketball is something I enjoy. But these days, other than some sporting event, I don’t watch much television.
I have learned what I think is a great trick, though. If my game starts at 7 in the evening, I set our digital recorder to start recording my game, while I go about other things. My wife and I enjoy reading scripture together in the evenings, after dinner, for example. So, our evenings are often spent taking turns reading aloud from God’s Word. No matter that the start of my game might be happening while we’re reading. I know the game is being taped, and I can watch it after we’re finished with our time in God’s Word.
But there’s another huge benefit to taping the game I want to watch: No commercials. If a game starts at 6 and I don’t get around to watching it until 7:30 or 8:00? No worries. Game’s being taped. And, an added benefit: I can use my trusty remote to fast-forward through all the commercials. I positively HATE commercials. All those faces of perky, smiling people who seem thrilled to be eating a piece of pizza I’m being told I desperately need to buy. Thirty seconds of total distraction and meaningless monotony. Doesn’t work for me, though. I fast-forward through that commercial.
But the reality is that immediately following the perky, pizza people, there’s another commercial. This time, a guy driving some gorgeous car with leather seats, who pulls up in front of a fancy hotel and throws his car keys to an attendant who looks honored to be able to valet park such an incredible automobile. The driver’s wearing a fancy tux, and smiling from ear to ear. He’s obviously a very cool guy, driving a very cool car. And, the intimation of the commercial is that if I buy a car like his, I can be cool too. Well, no commercial can fool me. You can dress me in a fancy tuxedo, and you can put me behind the wheel of a car with a price tag that looks like my social security number. But I’ll never be cool like that guy in the commercial. I don’t even want to be cool like that.
Over and over as I watch my recorded game, mindless commercials are repeated, and always those ‘mindless’ commercials have me in mind. Some skinny guy riding a stationary bike, sweating like there’s no tomorrow, trying to convince me that if I get a stationary bike like the one he’s riding, and I peddle it as fast as he’s peddling, pretty soon I’ll be as skinny as he is, and I’ll be smiling about it, too. Well, I am fast at some things, and one of the things I’m very fast at is fast-forwarding through commercials. I don’t want to miss my game by watching some stupid commercial I’ve already seen five hundred times.
Commercials are designed to turn my mind toward things that will make my life easier, or happier, or better in some way. They’re written with enticement as an objective. Sometimes, they include information about a product, so that when a prospective buyers like me sees what some fancy widget will actually do, or deliver, or accomplish … I’ll want to buy it so that my life will be better in some meaningful (if not costly) way. No question. Fast forward is a wonderful thing that lets me get past the pointless distractions called commercials, so I can get back to my game.
The writer of the 119th Psalm continually points out the importance of God’s Word in our lives. Virtually every verse of this longest chapter in the bible points us toward God’s statutes, or commandments, or precepts, or judgements. I love it when God points me toward what’s important.
And, tucked away in verse 37 of that 119th Psalm, the writer says, “… Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things.” Worthless things can be problematic in my life. While I don’t watch much television, I wonder? Are there any evenings in my life when I’d like to hurry up and fast-forward through my bible reading so I can get to my game? I’m not sure God is a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. But I am convinced of his great desire for meaningful interaction with one like me.
A life-long prayer, then: “… Turn my eyes, O Lord, from looking at worthless things.”