No one can serve two Masters …
I got more than I could ever ask for when I married into my husbands family, especially where my father-in-law is concerned. He’s one of the most real people I know. Simple, down to earth, uncomplicated, real. It’s no wonder I fell in love with his son. They are a lot alike.
Dad and I were recently talking about cell phones, and how most people can’t seem to put them down. Mind you, this statement was made as hubby was talking on his, and I was reaching for mine.
My father in law doesn’t own a smart phone. He still carries an old flip phone, and he seldom uses it to communicate with anyone outside of his wife and kids. He doesn’t have Facebook, use a fax, or hit up Google and MapQuest (in spite of traveling quite a bit and owning his own business). In fact, the only reason I can tell you what his phone even looks like is because he’s had it for so long.
I kind of laughed at Dad’s dislike for technology, but the conversation unsettled me.
For the past few years, an iPhone has always been within my reach. It’s there to wake me up in the morning, play my music library, and entertain me throughout the day. It keeps my calendar, captures my life in pictures, and is always there as my ever-present portal into the world of the internet. My phone is such a part of my daily life that I rarely think self-reflectively about it. What is it doing to my brain, my heart, and my soul? How is it influencing me, my relationships, and most importantly, who I serve?
These questions required some honest evaluation, which was followed by a quest for that holy grail between retaining the benefits of connectivity and allowing my devices to own me. I need to have focused attention if I’m going to get things done, and uninterrupted time with God and my family to invest in something that will last a lot longer than Apples latest device. It’s the way that I’m wired, and Dad’s thoughts on cell phones and how they are changing the way we live made me realize that his brain isn’t the only one equipped to deal with the world the way it was years ago, back when we were hunter-gatherers. In just a few short days, I’ve realized that the constant distraction from my cell phone slows me down and steals the best of me from the people that I love the most. It makes me less creative, more anxious, and yes, even idolatrous.
My devices are not my husband. They are not my children, and they’re not my friends, but any of them can easily become my God if I don’t keep things in perspective.
Cell phones make good servants, but they are terrible masters (to re-quote my husband’s saying about money).
A well lived life is one that is walked carefully before The Lord. The truth is, God calls us to a life of single-minded self-reflection that often gets thwarted by the hum of a push notification or a text from a friend. Perhaps John says it best as he closes one of his letters with a line of interesting relevance for those of us who now write with our thumbs:
“Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink [modern technology for John]. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.”
(2 John 12).