He who works his land
will have abundant food,
but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment. Proverbs 12:11
Let's look first at how gaming can detract from a productive life. As we do, consider this: to the extent that gaming detracts from or lessens being productive, to that extent it must be avoided. Tremper Longman’s commentary on this Proverb captures the essence of the problem. Longman translates the phrase "...he who chases fantasies lacks judgment." with the phrase "...he who pursues emptiness lacks heart."
…The emphasis here is not so much on lack of exertion, but rather that energy is misdirected.He goes on to say that what is pursued in this situation lacks substance. (Longman, 274)
In his commentary, Bruce Waltke says that the one who pursues fantasies has no sense. (Vol. 1, 528)
Longman is perceptive in focusing on misdirected energy rather than the game itself. Many gamers put a huge amount of time and energy into their gaming. Gamers are seriously committed to gaming, even if other, legitimate priorities suffer. The comparison here is with a farmer who thinks of other ways to get money, while neglecting his farm. Thus, instead of working his land, he schemes or chases fantasies and ends up without food for himself and his family. The farmer may think long and hard about acquiring money or about where he would rather be—but he will not be productive, and he will be hungry.
Electronic media has provided the occasion for many to be distracted from the work God has called them to and driven by fantasies instead. You don’t have to be a hard core gamer with the latest, most powerful computer to be drawn in. Hours can be wastd playing Solitaire or some other “low tech” game. The danger is that the energy spent in the pursuit of games—fantasies—will lead to a lack of productivity in areas where there is clear responsibility.
So the issue in gaming becomes pursuit of productive things rather than the pursuit of fantasies. Why not take time to evaluate the impact of gaming (broadly defined) on the lives of your children and those close to you? Think through these considerations:
In what areas is productivity being lost?
Is there a clear sense of meaning and purpose in the lives of your children? Or do they have large chunks of time that are seemingly discretionary?
Are there issues in their lives where they are unsettled and troubled?
What good things could be accomplished if less time were given to gaming?
Perhaps you can think of some additional considerations. In any event, think these things over and make some observations about them. We will get back to this in the next one or two posts.