Hervey Bay Presbyterian Church

A respected member of the family

Listen to this story told by someone some time ago:

“I remember the time when all of us, after the evening meal, gathered around the Word of God.  My father led us and read from the Holy Book. All of us got a chance to pray, and then, with reverence Dad would pray for the spreading of the Gospel in our local church and nation-wide.  He mentioned the names of missionaries in his prayer.  He thanked God for all his mercies upon us, and he prayed for our safe-keeping through the night. We concluded this time by singing a hymn.

“Then, almost out of the blue, an unknown man arrived, looking for shelter.  He was invited in and treated the way Christians should treat strangers.

“What an amazing man he was.  It seems he knew about everything about anything. He had travelled to all countries in the world.  He knew so much about the universe, plants, animals, kings, rulers and history.  And of course, we were mesmerised.

“After our evening meal we would cut the family devotion short just to hear more about the wonderful stories he had to tell. He would occupy the seat in the corner of the family room and the children would sit on the floor in absolute amazement to just drink in all he had to tell.

“Then, one day, with a slip of the tongue (?), he swore. We all looked at Dad.  To our astonishment, he did not say anything.  It seemed as if all the good stories of Mr Stranger outstripped the one bad word.

“Before long we gathered in the family room after tea even before we had our family devotion. We found it strange, but we really didn’t care because we learned so much from this honoured guest.

“Mr Stranger was tolerated and he took advantage. He took more and more time, and threw in more and more swear words.  He even told us of things we thought only happened in the sanctified relationship between husband and wife.  Dad seemed to think it was acceptable; we didn’t argue.

“Then the unthinkable:  the second Lord’s Day night Mr Stranger spent with us we didn’t go to worship service.  We stayed home because he had promised to read from the Scriptures, pray for us and even tell us more about his trips around the word. His sermon was somewhat strange, but we listened with dedication.

“This new ‘member’ of our family absolutely fascinated us.  We couldn’t wait to get home after school to take our places on the floor and listen to his stories.  The time around the table for evening meals were exchanged for time in the family room, while we would eat with our plates on our laps.

“Mr Stranger now talked so much that we hardly had any conversation with one another.  It was great, because our minds were filled with things from a world we knew nothing about.

“When I think back, I wonder if Mr Stranger was really such a good man, and if his stories were really that good.  As a matter of fact, I now know that listening to him made me doubt the truth of the Bible.  He was opposed to all I know is right according to the Ten Commandments.

“Further, members of our family grew apart, family devotion was relegated to our rooms and even Dad let go of a swearword or two he had heard from our visitor.

“You probably by now know the real name of Mr Stranger.  His last name is Television, and he has become the respected member in many a family around the world.  They too suffered to same consequences:  they drifted away from God, from the church, and from one another.

Isn’t it time we ask Mr Stranger to leave?”

I have to admit, Mr Television has changed even my world.  Instead of the Bible after tea, we open the cabinet and waste time listening to the strange ideas he proclaims as absolute truth.

PS. Isn’t it interesting that the TV cabinet even resembles as sort of an “altar”?

Our Father in heaven, Your truth is not adhered to by the majority programs we watch on Television.  We confess that we have become very bad stewards of time, as hour after hour pass by with us watching hollow and meaningless programs which rob us of good time with our family, or meditation upon Your grace in Jesus Christ. Please save us from this evil.  For Your sake.  Amen

© D Rudi Schwartz

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