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Turning Time Wasters to Tools

by Cheyenne Reiswig
Yes, I'm a smartphone user, and this photo is evidence.
It was taken with my phone!

I don’t know about you, but when I read inspired statements like these, my conscience winces a bit:

“Our time belongs to God.”

“The value of time is beyond computation.”

“Of no talent He has given will He require a more strict account than of our time.”

“We have no time to waste, no time to devote to selfish pleasure, no time for the indulgence of sin.”

“Christ regarded every moment as precious.”1

I do try to be efficient with most of the hours in my day: the time I devote to work, study, cooking, etc. But what about the spare moments—the hours driving (or riding) in the car, the minutes between breakfast and going to work, my lunch break, and evening time when I’m waiting for family worship?

I’ll admit it: When I have unscheduled free time, too often I reach for my smartphone or my laptop. Either way, time gets frittered away as I check out the latest happenings in distant friends’ lives, watch humorous video clips, or read blogs.

Hmm. Is that the account I want to give to God? Is this behavior showing that I, like Jesus, think every moment is precious?

A few months back, I decided to try something different. Moving my phone’s browser icon off the home screen, I replaced it with something of eternal value: the Remember Me Scripture memory app. I’m not trying to do a commercial (the app is free for my device, anyway),2 but I do really like this resource. When I tell it what Scriptures I’d like to memorize, it gives me several fun options for learning and review. One screen simply shows the words of the text. Another erases one word at a time, so I have to fill in words as I read through. Another option shows me the first initial of each word,3 which can be very helpful both for learning a verse the first time and for reviewing verses I’ve already memorized.

When I’m ready for a bigger challenge, one of the app screens shows me the length of the words in the verse—but no letters. To make things fun, there’s the “typer” screen, where I put in the first letter of each word, and the program fills in the rest if I get the first letter correct. Finally, the “puzzle” screen lets me put the verse together one word at a time, using multiple-choice options.

At any time, I can add a verse to the list of ones I’ve mastered, which the app brings back for review periodically. That way, I don’t forget the details of precious verses I worked hard to learn.

Remember Me is only one example of a Bible memory app. Another option is Scripture Typer, which teaches you Bible verses by having you type them. Many of my friends really like this mobile app. If you don’t have a smartphone or tablet, you can use Scripture Typer for free on a regular computer.4 In addition to helping you with your memory verses, it is a great way to increase your typing speed!

Of course, app stores are full of educational games, field guides, and other useful tools that I wouldn’t call a waste of time. However, when we remember that “we have but a few days of probation” and “every moment is freighted with eternal consequences,”5 secular activities lose appeal. The phone that wastes so much of your time can become a tool to read, memorize, listen to,6 and study the Bible.7 What’s more, if you download the free EGW Writings app, you’ll never lack for pure, important, uplifting reading material!

Even in her day—when most Bibles were bulky—Ellen White encouraged, “Keep your Bible with you. As you have opportunity, read it; fix the texts in your memory. Even while you are walking the streets you may read a passage . . . fixing it in the mind.”8 With our resources, we have no excuse for letting free moments go to waste. Instead, let’s improve them for eternity!

1. Christ’s Object Lessons, page 342.
2. Remember Me is free for Android devices; for Apple products it requires a small fee. Download it from your device’s app store.
3. Like the back of the YD Bible memory bookmarks.
5. Op cit, pages 342, 343.
6. See and for good audio Bible apps and downloads.
7. MySword and PocketSword are my favorite Bible apps, available from your app store.
8. Steps to Christ, page 90.

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