While the technologies now available in our modern culture have made us more efficient, they’ve also weighed us down by providing us with opportunities to “do more and more, faster and faster . . .” and for many of us it seems to be an addiction that we just can’t say “no” to.
Like a parent that indulges a child with whatever he or she wants, we often indulge ourselves simply because we CAN and because EVERYONE else is doing it.
Of course in our heart of hearts we know that these are two of the worst reasons to do anything. But we seem to keep chasing the next new shiny gadget anyway. And while we think we’re operating smarter and better with all of our technology, I’m not so sure that’s always the case.
One humorous example that lived itself out at a meeting recently involved a friend who had the latest version of Apple’s handy-dandy IPAD. He had arrived at the meeting singing of all its abilities and was full of proclamations like, “Everyone needs to have a device such as this . . . To try to operate without one today is to be left behind in the dark ages . . .”
I knew where he was aiming his barb.
Sitting next to me was a newer member of our team who had arrived on time with nothing more than a pencil and a yellow legal pad. “This works just fine for me,” she responded.
This, of course, elicited a 10 minute demonstration of what the IPAD could do while hooked to a wireless internet system. It was fairly impressive. After “Mr. Technology” was done we finally got our meeting underway.
But unfortunately only a few minutes had passed when “Don’s” IPAD slid off the table and the front screen shattered rendering it totally useless. Not a word was said as he forlornly lifted it from the floor. But a moment later “Debbie” took her legal pad and pencil, extended her arm and (yup, you guessed it) dropped them together to the floor. She then picked them back up and said, “Now where were we?”
It was indeed a funny moment and a heady reminder that sometimes the old school way of doing things has some significant benefits. Not that we should completely avoid what technology can bring us, but we do well to remember that it does have both its dangers (ability to take over one’s life) and limitations (electricity required.)
Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mathew 6:19-21)
So, seek to find a balance in the worldly things you must use in the day to day of life and never let them overtake and threaten your true calling to “store up treasures in heaven.” We should all utilize the good gifts of this world (including technology) which God has given us through the inventiveness and perseverance of those who have gone before (we stand on many shoulders) but remember that the only thing permanent in this world is God’s great love itself.
And perhaps legal pads and pencils.
Stuart Revercomb is the Pastor at Peace Presbyterian Church in Roanoke. Worship with them at 10:30 AM on Sunday mornings or visit them on the web at peace-church.net