I haven’t quite caught up with technology. At least that’s what my son told me while I was trying to program my VCR. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was wrong. He said, “Here’s your problem, Dad. You put an 8-track tape in it.”
Let’s face it; most of us have low-grade techno-fever. We rise before our cell phone wakes us. We’ve been watching the time displayed by our ceiling clock anyway. Shaving and showering, we listen to stock updates, our pulse racing. In the kitchen, breakfast is two granola bars and enough caffeine to power the Starship Enterprise. But the time is not wasted. We are reading the morning news while updating our blog.
The car starts before we climb in and the commute is ideal for catching up on the texting we couldn’t do while wasting time with sleep. At work we’re mainlining the Internet and marvelling at the growth of our inbox. At night we watch baseball while checking player statistics and emails from friends who wonder why we’re not returning their text messages about driving their kids to soccer practice.
If there’s life on other planets and they have telescopes, we must look like we’re in a giant pinball game. Sadly, few things suck the joy from our lives like busyness.
People headed for Europe used to spend weeks unwinding on ocean liners. Breathing deeply of the salt air. Savouring novels and visiting friends. Now we can make the same trip in less than a day, and when we get there, we’re itching to be first off the plane.
Is the world a better place than it was in the days of the ocean liner? Each day worldwide, 50 billion emails are dispatched. Kenneth Greenspan of New York’s Presbyterian Hospital claims 50 per cent of all doctor visits are stress-related and that stress contributes to 90 per cent of known diseases.
We have cell phones that work underwater now. This is a real answer to prayer. I’m often swimming, thinking I need to talk to Steve. Hey, I love bread makers and microwaves, but what I’d like more than anything is to lie down for a full hour without a cell phone going off.
If I had the time, I’d sit down and write a letter:
Dear Guys Who Come Up With More Stuff:
Please stop. We’re fine. We have enough RAM in our computers and enough room in our trunks. Our jets go fast enough now. You have put nutritional value on our potato chip bags and we’re amazed. But would you work on an invention that slows us down? That brings families together? That cures diseases? I’m still trying to figure out my email.
Simon Cowell of American Idol fame was asked by Rolling Stone magazine, “What would you like more than anything else?”
He responded, “More money.”
The interviewer wisely said, “But I read somewhere that you’re worth $90 million. Isn’t that enough?”
Simon said, “No, it’s not enough.”
Movie star Harrison Ford was asked what he’d like that all his millions can’t buy. He said, “Peace."
The enemy of our souls wants us to live in a noisy state of distraction from things that give us meaning and purpose. He’d rather we have 5,000 Facebook friends than one godly companion who loves us enough to encourage us to walk with Jesus.
I say we make a conscious decision to filter out the noise, turn off the distractions, and listen to God’s voice. We’ll hear Jesus say, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG).
Let’s walk humbly with God today. We can start by leaving the cell phone at least 50 feet from the dinner table. For 5,000 years people had no cell phones. We’ll be fine without one for 30 minutes. Let’s pry our fingers off the keyboard and get some exercise. It won’t kill us. And now I think I’ll go downstairs and put a cassette tape in the VCR and see what happens.