In this recording, Archimandrite Athanasios Mytilinaios (1927-2006), answers the question: “Is it a sin to not have a daily schedule?” A: “I would indeed say that it is a sin, my children. Why so? Because simply it is a case of wasting time. When you lack a program, you lose your time and time is precious.” He also talks about how cigarettes are harmful and the dogma of “art for art’s sake“.
Audio source: “Answers to Sunday school questions”, no. 317, March 26, 1989 (in Greek)
Another question asks: “A program in whatever we do in life is necessary.
Unprogrammed life, or better the lack of programming in whatever we do is something really bad. But is it also a sin?”
I was given a good opportunity by he or she who asks to say something on this. I would indeed say that it is a sin, children. Why so? Because simply it is a case of wasting time. When you lack a program, you lose your time and time is precious. Do not forget that time was given to us as ‘a credit’ for our salvation. To prepare for our salvation. Thus, time is important and in case we waste it as we follow a life without a program, this is without doubt a sin!
A lot of people ask: “Is the cigarette harmful?” Of course, it is. Why? Aside from all the other reasons, it destroys our health. Thus, the moment you destroy your health, that’s a sin. God gave you the gift of health. If you destroy this gift, is this not a sin? God gave you the gift of time. If you waste this time, is this not a sin? It’s obvious!
Children, even if one is not faithful but he still wants to achieve something in his life, if he wastes his time, he can achieve nothing. Thus, even if we were not Christians, we should consider time as something really precious and something that does not come back. Because it was rightly said that in case you lose money, it can be reacquired easily. In case you lose your health, it is reacquired with difficulty. In case you lose your time, you can never get it back. It is gone and that is it. Thus, [wasting time] is indeed a sin.
I would still like to say something on the importance of a program. Pay attention right now! Having a program is important. For example, from the night before, we can program and say, “Tomorrow I have to do this and that.” What am I doing when I say that? I program. But this program that will be realized is nothing else but saving time since I know [in advance] what I should do. Just like a good housewife, let me tell this one to the girls, in the evening opens the fridge and looks at what was left from the day’s meals. “What can I prepare tomorrow from the leftovers so that I won’t throw out the things that are left in the fridge.” What is that? It’s a schedule/program for my kitchen. I will make a schedule for washing, for waking up the family.
In the same manner, the boys have to schedule their own different works. Pay attention now! While programming [generally] helps, sometimes a weird thing happens. You can imagine a horseman being glad because riding a horse helps him finish his works more easily. Can you imagine, though, a horse on the back of a man? A horse on the back of a man …
Can you imagine this? This occurs when the program becomes an end in itself and I turn into a slave of the program. Programming is good, but let us not end up being slaves to it. I remember from when I was young, I was just over 20 years old. I had a friend, a really good guy. Every time we would meet in the evening and discuss, wherever we happened to be, at the street, at home … at 8pm he would rise up rapidly ten minutes before 8pm and say, “I am leaving because I have to be at home. At 8pm we are eating.”
Once I told him: “What you say is good, but if sometime something really important occurs to you—a spiritual conversation, you are helping someone—are you going to stop because the time we are eating at home is approaching?” This friend had become “a slave of the program”.
Let us not forget what the Lord said on this. “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” [Mark 2:27] Meaning, the Saturday was not made to be served by man, [on the contrary] the Saturday was made to serve man.
Likewise with the art. Somebody was asked by the artists:
“For whom are you painting?” And he answered:
I do not have more time to further analyze the dogma “art for art’s sake/art for itself”.
No, art is not for art’s sake, because if this is so, then man becomes a slave of art. We say that this painting, this sculpture offends the morals. [The creator] answers: “But I am doing it for the art.” Yet art is not superior to me. Art is serving me, the man. When we adapt the dogma “art for art’s sake,” then the obscene painting, sculpture, book and anything else becomes justified.
We cannot say that we create art, because art is serving man and is not served by the man.
The Lord said it once and forever. I will repeat it one more time. “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” [Mark 2:27] Likewise, in our case. The program was made to serve you, not vice versa, for you to become slave to the program. If we take these into account, then we can “move beautifully”. Yes to the program, but it’s not nailed with pins. There is a certain flexibility. We can change it, modify it because—at the end of the day—the program serves us and we [don’t serve] it.