As we continue our series on Gaming for God’s Glory, this week we turn our attention to the importance of proper stewardship when it comes to gaming. For the purpose of this post, we will be looking at the stewardship of time when it comes to our video game schedule.
What is Stewardship?
Before we can approach how to steward our time, we need to make sure that we come to a proper understanding of what we mean when we speak of stewardship. According to dictionary.com, the word means “the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving.” As Christians we must come to the agreement that time, one of the most limited resources we have, is definitely worth caring for and preserving and it should be used in such a way that it glorifies God.
Proper Time Management
One argument that people make about video games is that they view the playing of them as a waste of time. With where gaming used to be, it would not be hard to acknowledge that this was closer to truth than fiction. Since the days of streaming video games is fairly new to the world in which we live, the thought of an individual sitting for hours on end playing a game alone in a fantasy world could easily be labeled as a waste of time. The only potential, that some may believe, for redeeming such an activity would be those rare cases in which games were multiplayer and people would play with friends that were over at their house. Times, and gaming, have changed drastically since those days but the idea of making sure we’re managing our time effectively has not. In order to make sure that we are properly stewarding a commodity as precious as time we should find ourselves sticking to some key principles regarding this important matter.
Time to do God’s work is limited.
We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. John 9:4
In the gospel of John, the story is told of Jesus healing a man born blind. Through this the question arises as to what is to blame for such a deformity and within that context Jesus gives the remark of “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” Within the context, Jesus understood that his time on earth was limited and it is no different for us. While this statement had longer reaching ideas than can be dealt with in this post, the truth remains that the time to do the work of God is limited. For this reason, it is important for us to make sure every moment we spend focuses on doing the work of God even when we are streaming and playing video games.
Some ways that we can do this include praying for those who ask for it or offering encouraging passages of scripture during our streams in chat or reading it out loud at the beginning or end of our streams. We can also make sure this work is done by the example that we set during our gaming time. How we react to each other and in games over voice chat or other forms of communication play a large role here. This list could go on and on but this sets some form of example for how we can make use of this limited time.
We need wisdom to properly steward our time.
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
As much as we would like to present the idea that properly using your time is easy, it just isn’t. Without the wisdom of God, we will find ourselves foolishly squandering our days on selfish ambitions and desires. This point ties closely to the previous one about having an awareness of our limited time but holds with it the desire for wisdom in life. Written by Moses, Psalm 90 focuses largely on the passing of time until he comes to what he says in verse 12 when he asks that God “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Not only is Moses encouraging the people to pay attention to their limited time but he is asking that in the midst, people would desire wisdom in order to make the best use of what they have.
The way we approach this is simply through prayer. During streams we never know what kind of audience is going to arrive or what kinds of questions or situations we will find ourselves in. For this reason, our streams must be bathed in prayer and support. We must have a heart that desires God’s wisdom to respond appropriately to any situation so that our stream times are not a waste. When we have a heart that desires what God’s heart does, we will find ourselves growing in relationships and abilities to listen more effectively to those we interact with.
Redeem the time you spend.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:15-17
Finally, we want to focus on how to redeem time spent playing video games in order to avoid having it be a waste. Paul counsels the church in Ephesus to “Be very careful then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Paul was known for speaking on the reality that all things are permissible but not all things are beneficial (1 Cor. 10:23) focusing on the importance of making sure there is value in what you do. He also is known for warning against doing things that bring about stumbling to others simply because of the freedom we have in Christ (Gal. 5:13). The reality of it all is that even gaming can be beneficial if we make it that way.
The way that we handle this is by putting priorities on what truly matters in life. Relationships and community should be the driving motivation behind why we do what we do. Time spent streaming should be about more than just playing a game. While that is fun, we should be willing to stop playing when a serious question arises from our viewers in order to give proper attention to the matter at hand. As we are gaming what really matters is the development of healthy community and it is really through conversations that this occurs.
Gaming in today’s world is largely communal. That being said, there is value to solo gaming without the involvement of community. For some, being immersed in a world of fantasy and adventure, simulation, sports, or whatever genre you prefer, is a way to recharge because of your personality. That is not true for everyone but if that is you, then take time to recharge in a way that is effective but make sure you are definitely contributing time to prayer and reading scripture without the use of a screen and be careful not to turn to gaming worlds as a means of escape.
Another benefit of solo gaming can be found in the realm of understanding how the world processes life's circumstances in order to better prepare ourselves for life's difficult questions. Through games like Last Day of June and Brothers, I gained insight into how suffering and death are processed from a non Christian perspective.
Proper stewardship of time is essential to a Christian lifestyle and that is no different when it comes to gaming. We just need to make sure that the time spent is meaningful and brings glory to God. After all, it is only through our connection with Him that we are going to be effective stewards of the limited time that we have in this world.