Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Trapped Miners in Chile & Time

For the last 55 days 33 miners have been stuck 2,700 ft below Chile's Atacam desert. The story has made headlines since the mine caved in on the 33 men August 5th.

For the last 55 days these 33 miners have essentially lived in a room that is only 538 sq. ft. although there is a section they have set aside as a bathroom and another area they seem to have for when some wants to be alone. Nonetheless they have been in a very tight, confined space with nowhere to go for 55 days and counting!

Officials have said that they expect to finally be able to drill down to where the miners are by perhaps mid-Oct (it had earlier been stated it would be November before they would get to them). Yet as the drilling continues the drama is being watched and studied by many psychiatrist, anthropologist, and perhaps even sociologist's on what 33 miners confined for that long in that space says about human behavior.

A recent Time magazine article about this same subject quotes  Colonel Tom Kolditz a psychologist and behavioral scientist at West Point saying:

"The need for normality is only the second most powerful driver of behavior in a crisis, however. The first is what Kolditz calls "mortality salience." For everyone, death is inevitable, but most of the time we think of it as eventual. If that changes — if death seems possibly imminent — behavior changes too. "When you fear for your lives," says Kolditz, "you pull together."
Essentially Dr. Kolditz is saying at least two things about these men. First they are finding ways to adapt to their environment and keep things 'normal', have some kind of a routine. Secondly they are working together in order to stay alive and healthy. 

As I have been following this incredible story, this aspect of how these men must be living and their response to the conditions they are in has been intriguing to say the least and at the same time has made me think about some spiritual issues.

Particularly I want to focus here on the first driver of behavior Kloditz mentions as 'mortality salience' which again means that if we know death is possibly imminent we change our behavior. 

So I ask how would your behavior change if you knew that you were perhaps going to die sooner than later? How would you treat other people? What would you do for Jesus that you aren't doing now?! 

Maybe it's time that we start living for Jesus as if this was our last day! This past weekend I spoke on this issue (click here to see the sermon) as I expounded on the text where Paul says in Ephesians 5:15-17:
"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil."
I pray those miners are rescued much sooner that later, and when they are rescued I would venture to say that they will have a new outlook on life making the best use of time, especially since they have spent so much time away from their friends and family.

May we be challenged as people who are not 2,300 ft below the earth in confined quarters to make the most of our time for Jesus, NOW, while we still can.

So how are you using your time? Are you 'making the best use of the time' for the cause of Jesus?


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