August 2014

Written by Mark Madavan   

Just before Christmas, whilst visiting friends, the conversation meandered its way to the topic of favourite TV programmes. Obviously ‘Songs of Praise’ occupied all of our top spots – in fact it was so obvious that no one mentioned it! What was mentioned, in a very enthusiastic and animated way, was a TV series that apparently Cathy and I “just had to watch”. Brilliant characters, compelling story lines, accurate sets, loads of awards – our hosts raved about the series, then suddenly leapt from their seats, grabbed the complete box set from their DVD collection and thrust it in our hands.

The series was called “The West Wing”. It is set in the White House’s West Wing, where the President of the United States is based. The series follows the unfolding political and personal stories of the country and staff team as they juggle the stresses and strains associated with that political office.

The box now in our possession contained 7 seasons of the series - 156 separate episodes, 117 hours [4 days 21 hours] of DVDs to watch!

After the second episode we were hooked. Any evening where we could sneak in a 45 minute episode we did so. When we spent a few days away on holiday, we took the DVDs and gorged on a batch of episodes. In the midst of all the things that fill the Madavan family life: church work, speaking engagements, writing deadlines, attending our girl’s concerts, Naomi’s GCSEs, Cathy working away from home, family, friends – within 7 months we had watched every episode.

My point is not to officially give my blessing on “The West Wing” - although it is a good series. Neither is my point to publically confess that Cathy and I spent time watching TV instead of studying scripture and praying for our neighbours! My point is more of a question - how did we manage to find time to watch all 156 episodes within 7 months?

The answer is actually rather simple - because we chose to watch them. We found time for what we wanted to do.

All of our lives are surrounded with a multitude of demands and distractions, all calling for our time and attention. Some things we make great efforts to include, whilst others repeatedly drift to “I’ll do it tomorrow”. Into the middle of this, Jesus says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God”

This is not a call to never watch DVD box sets - but a call to honour God first; to ensure Jesus’ call to love, forgive, pray, fast, give, serve… are not the things that keep getting bumped to “tomorrow”.

In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus said, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wiseman who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Build wisely..
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