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A Lesson From “Iron Man”

In my previous post, I asked whether your TV is killing you.  Several visitors commented and made some helpful observations.  I encourage you to read that discussion.

Andy asked whether Piper should have addressed internet use as well.  Should we completely avoid the internet?  If so, both of us are in trouble.  Another commenter pointed out that there are some significant differences between the two mediums.

I rarely watch TV, but I love the internet.  Too much, I’m afraid.  It has a dangerous attraction for an information junkie.  It is a vast repository of knowledge, much of it unnecessary, some of it useless, and some of it deadly poisonous.

But putting aside those elements that are clearly destructive, the amount of time wasted in the pursuit of trivial information is still a little scary.  I mentioned in a previous post that Americans spent 302 billion minutes online in July.

I discovered recently that there is even a website devoted to providing the world with random tidbits of Unneccessary Knowledge at the click of a mouse.  Here are some of the things I learned there:

Close to 73% of girls in Bangladesh are married by age 18

The plastic tips on the ends of shoelaces are called “aglets”

According to a study by the nation’s largest auto insurer, most accidents occur between 3 and 6 p.m. on Friday

There is One AK-47 for every Nine people on Earth

The most popular first name in the world is Muhammad

The Barbie doll has more than 80 careers

There is enough fat in the average adult human body to make seven bars of soap

I could easily have spent a lot more time on that one page.  Click.  Click.  Click.  Click.  And for me, at least, that’s the heart of my problem.  Is the time I spend online just a harmless diversion, or am I frittering away my life sitting in front of a computer screen?

Tick.  Tick.  Tick.  Tick.  Wasting time can easily and quickly translate into wasting life.

Spoiler Warning: I just watched the movie “Iron Man” again.  Near the beginning of the movie Yinsen saves fellow prisoner Tony Stark’s life with a crude invention designed to keep shrapnel from penetrating his heart.  Stark is saved again a little while later when Yinsen sacrifices his own life in order to buy Stark the time he needs to finish powering up his newly fabricated suit.  Stark thanks Yinsen for saving his life, and with his last breath Yinsen says to Stark, “Don’t waste it.  Don’t waste your life.”

That phrase grips my heart.  No one wants to look back on their life and realize they wasted it on things that don’t matter.

(Some of you may recognize Yinsen’s admonition as the title of a John Piper book.  You can read the book online for free, subscribe to the video podcast, and more at Don’t Waste Your Life.)

Jesus saved my life.  I don’t want to waste it.  Not on TV.  Not on the internet.  Not on fun and recreation.  Not on good things.  Not on bad things.  Not on anything.

I want to heed Yinsen’s warning.  “Don’t waste it.  Don’t waste your life.”

Randy Alcorn