Is technology making people lazy?

Published 11:59 pm Sunday, April 30, 2017

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”  — Philippians 2:4-7. 
What was supposed to be a pleasant family outing turned into something two children would never forget.  Almost three years ago, a family went to enjoy the breathtaking views and landscapes of the Cabo da Raca cliffs in West Portugal.  The parents decided to cross one of the safety barriers on the edge of the tallest cliff with a “selfie stick” to take a “selfie.”  Moments later, the parents slipped off the edge and were gone from this world.  I remember the day my Pastoral Counseling professor told my class this story.  I was speechless — I couldn’t believe something like this could have happened.  However, more incidents like this are increasing year after year all around the globe.

I recently read a magazine where one of the column writers made the argument that we have gone beyond the age of “narcissism” and have entered into an “unstoppable pandemic of self-obsession.”  One of the things he said was rather blunt, yet so true for us: “Stop taking stupid pictures of yourself in front of the mirror with your stupid face.”  Offensive — yet, many who are 70 and under do the very same thing week after week, or perhaps day after day.  Why do people need to know what we are constantly doing by Facebook posting five to six times a day?  Why do most people now only respond with “Emoji” symbols or “gifs” instead of actual words in text messages?  Because we’ve become extremely lazy through technology.  We can hardly carry on a conversation anymore with one another because of our phones and mindless distractions.

How does all of this relate to you and me?  Imagine what the daily routine was like for Jesus and the Apostles.  It’s rare to get someone’s “full” attention these days — imagine having Jesus’ full attention, talking with him for hours about anything and everything!  Paul writes in Philippians 2 that we are not to only be focused on ourselves, but to pay attention and focus on others — we put ourselves last, as Jesus did.  “For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many,” Mark 10:45. As Christians, we are called to enjoy God’s creation and everything in it — everything including mankind and serving each other! Let’s practice this by talking to each other and carrying out real conversations.  One day in eternity, we will be spending a lot of time together, conversing without sin in word, thought, or deed — so we might as well start practicing now!    Take pictures of something else besides your face!  Take pictures of God’s breathtaking creation — capture a beautiful sunset, sunrise, eclipse, river, waterfall — whatever it may be and share that with others in a way that doesn’t involve all the social media entrapments and distractions.  Jesus didn’t fall into any kind of distraction for you and me.  He perfectly ran the race that was set before him and never called it quits (Hebrews 12:1-2).  What if he had?  What if instead of healing the man known as “Legion” in Mark 5, he said, “Maybe some other time…gotta update my status.”  Or, when Lazarus was reported dead, he got out his smartphone and said, “Let me take a picture of me standing in front of his tomb…” He would no longer be the Lord we love and worship! Jesus had a mission, and that was to bring redemption to his people and apply it to his flock through his Holy Spirit because “Salvation belongs to the Lord” (Jonah 2:9).
The Rev. Seth Duhs is the pastor of New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Natchez.

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