A Family Circle Series: Stop the Clock

By Leslie Diestelkamp

Undoubtedly Americans, including many of God’s very own people here, are rushing madly and blindly into hell. Besides that, we are often guilty of so abusing the twenty-four hours of each day that we get very little real satisfaction in this life and actually fill our days and nights so full of events that are really quite inconsequential that we can not even appreciate the beauty of living. For instance:

1. When we had to travel several miles in a horse drawn vehicle, gospel meetings usually lasted two or three weeks and were attended by multitudes. Now we travel in fast automobiles, reaching our meeting place in a few minutes of very comfortable travel, but we have time for only five or six nights of meetings and that is rapidly being reduced to two or three nights. Today the farmer’s cows are milked by a machine, the bookkeeper’s tabulations are done by calculator and/or computer, the mechanic does not repair a faulty part, he just replaces it with a new one, the housewife’s dishes are washed by a machine and the laundry that used to take all day now is done in two hours or less. We are surrounded by “time saving” devices for the home, the factory, the farm, yet we seem to have less and less time to devote to people — call it “people time,” if you will!

2. Husbands and wives do not spend enough time together. Even the little time they do have together is frequently shared with other people so that the marriage partners still have little real communication with each other. In consultations with couples I am often amazed to notice how little husbands and wives know of each others desires, activities or even whereabouts. Business men frequently pursue success so avidly that they lose contact with the family. Wives become so devoted to soap operas, card parties, club meetings, bargain sales, etc. that homemaking is neglected. (At this point it may be well to admonish preachers. Of course we must go everywhere preaching the Word. We must be true to this commitment we have made. But, for the sake of our marriages, to assure the love and respect of our companions, to prevent temptation and jealousy, we must save time to be with our companions. Remember, there are all kinds of ways and circumstances to preach the gospel, far and near, but there is only one woman for you! You need her and she needs you. You will not have made the fruitful use of your life if you are gone from — separated from your wife — almost all the time and then lose your marriage!)

3. Parents frequently spend too little time with their children, especially in a private, family-circle atmosphere. The following story is lifted from “Saturday Evening Post” magazine, and though it was meant as a joke, it represents a serious circumstance: “At the dinner table the wife of the inveterate golfer said, ‘Junior told me that he caddied for you this morning.’ That’s it!’ exclaimed the golf addict. ‘ I knew I’d seen that kid somewhere before!’ “

If you are interested in the security of your family circle, then give it more time — that is, deliberately apportion more of your time to the activities of the family. And I do not mean you should just sit in the same room looking at the same television programs, but I mean really live together: work, play, sing, pray and talk together.

Husbands and wives need to stop the clock long enough to get acquainted again (and the same thing applies to, parents and children). And by this figurative expression I mean we need to make time stand still (see Josh. 10:13) — that is, we need to withdraw somewhat from the “rat race” — from the pent-up turmoil of our high-speed way of life today in order to provide a home atmosphere that is in harmony with God’s intent for us.

Of course I am aware that the business structure, the the recreational emphasis and the way of life in the homes all demand our own participation to the fullest extent and with the maximum of time for each. But we must gladly refuse those demands! Any business, any employment, any vocation that demands so much of our time that we must neglect the family should be rejected or at least minimized somewhat. Any school arrangement that does not allow time for home life is not a good educational venture. Any recreation that isolates us from the family circle, whether we are participants or spectators in the sports, is excessive for our benefit. Any social system that invades the private home life of a family should be abandoned.

The togetherness that is needed in the homes of America and in the family circles of God’s people may require that we figuratively hang out a sign on our front door, “Do Not Disturb.” It may demand that we pull the electric plug on the T.V. set, -cut the cord on the telephone, reduce our demands for more and more money, sell the “second” car, and generally reduce the tensions, frustrations and excessive demands on our time that keep the family apart. (These specifics are symbolic, you understand, but they represent a real, and actual need for self-discipline for the entire family.) The old saying suggests that “Time heals many wounds.” In this case I suggest that “time together” will heal much that ails the families of our land and of the Lord’s people. Take time to live and to love in the family circle-for your joy and for God’s glory. Our next subject will be, “Home Security.”

Truth Magazine XXII: 8, p. 130
February 23, 1978