The Youth Forum: How do you use your Leisure Time?

Ecclesiastes 11:9 and 12:1 

A French saying goes, “Idleness is the mother of all viciousness”. The wise words recorded in the above-mentioned verses are very pertinent. Using leisure time gainfully has always been a difficult task for many young people. It has been found that during holidays or vacations, youths are likely to indulge in injurious activities, such as drug abuse, banditry, outings for risky sexual relations.

It is noteworthy that youths mostly get involved in such misdemeanours as a result of the bad company they keep. Most of the mishaps that youths are prey to result from neglecting to make adequate plans for the use of their leisure time. One must never equate the absence of usual activities with actual rest. Time off has some great advantages, as far as it offers multiple choices in the use of one’s free time. It is prudent not to consider recreational activities only, such as sport, travelling, reading, gardening. It would be advisable to include creative and challenging pursuits, like active participation in the affairs of the Ecclesia, volunteering to help the needy and visiting the sick, holding biblical discussions with brethren, sisters and/or interested friends.

To our young people I say, during your time off, always have a fixed destination every time you leave your household. Going out aimlessly with no particular destination is guaranteed to assure you a place on the deranged persons list! Driving or walking with no destination is like a lecture without a topic.

The Ecclesiastes verses, shown at the beginning, are relevant. Accept it or not, you will be young only once in your life. Therefore you will remember either joyfully or regretfully the way you spent that most precious age. The Bible stresses “Remember your Creator”. To achieve this, you have to observe the divine laws and regulations found in the Scriptures. It doesn’t mean that you lead an extremely pious life so that you deprive yourself of all pleasure. To remember your Creator will itself bring you a lot of pleasure.

Just imagine, if you are offered a car and a driving licence, then you would be free to enjoy all the pleasure you may get from driving. However, in spite of the expected freedom, while driving you must comply with all the rules and regulations of using the road. These regulations do not prevent you from enjoyment, instead they are parapets for the safety of road users, yourself included.

In the same way, this applies to the freedom given to you by your Creator, God. Ungrudgingly, He has given you the free choice of how to conduct your youth (Deuteronomy 30:19; Proverbs 27:11). What a wonderful privilege! Nevertheless, God has set some ‘road regulations’ i.e. the standards He wants you to follow and which will spare you ‘road accidents’. These are the sorrows and the disappointments befalling many young people.

The Bible says: “Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth …”. However, the same verse warns “…but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment”. Remember your Creator by using wisely and cautiously the freedom He has given you.

As a youth, always guard your personal integrity as a precious asset if you want to reap the benefits of successful living. Maintain acquaintance with morally upright people, especially those of your faith, for you will constantly infuse one another with new insights and attitudes. By doing so, you will keep the assurance that your Creator will remember you and give you pleasure abundantly (Proverbs 10:22).


Brother Innocent E’engele (Kibera Ecclesia, Nairobi, Kenya)

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