I’m sitting in a little cafe in the Denver airport. As I walk through toward the back where I’m being seated I see the woman to my left with her iPhone in her face, the man behind her with his laptop typing furiously, the teenager with her family playing some sort of game on the ipad. Row by row as I stare at the focus on technology, I can’t help but ponder how much my generation is missing out on in life simply by neglecting real relationships in favor of hours upon hours consumed with social media, emails, games, and such.I can’t help but wonder if technology is helping the whole world hear by bringing the gospel to the most remote villages in the world, but yet our own country is becoming less and less evangelized. How will they hear if they live in a world full of Christians that are willing to run to the darkest of dark places, but won’t take their eyes off their phones in a restaurant? Have we become so trapped in our social media worlds that we can’t hear Holy Spirit when He whispers to us to talk to the waitress, the janitor, or the cashier in our own nation?
I’m writing this as I’m feeling Him speak to me, not about you, but about me. I noticed these things as I walked back to my table and proceeded to pull out my laptop and my phone. I began to jot out notes for a chapter in my book that I was thinking about, then as I turned my phone back on it immediately started going off. Currently at 7am I paused a whats app conversation with my best friend in England, texting a pastor in LA and a friend in North Carolina, while also making notes to contact people for the next conference I’m speaking in and emails to write for my next mission trip coming up to yet another conflict zone. I’ve done all that while sitting her for ten minutes, but I don’t know my waiter’s name. This is when it hit me. I am becoming that person that I’m most concerned about. I can become so busy planning and doing things for the Kingdom that I forget to stop for the one in front of me. Oh my friends and I run into war zones, we go to unreached people groups, we visit the homeless and the prostitutes, we preach sermons, we travel speaking in churches and conferences, I think we’re nice people, and from the world of social media it could appear like we have figured this Christian thing out, but my success in life isn’t measured by those things. Honestly, my life is best measured by this verse, “If you love me, you obey me” (John 14:12) Love. One thing I know is that love listens when He speaks. Love values what He values. Love moves when He says to move. I don’t want to run into war zones if I’m not willing to be a witness in Wal-Mart. I don’t want to lay hands on the sick behind the pulpit, if I’m not willing to stop for the homeless man in the wheel chair on the street. I don’t want to get so distracted by the planning, the phone calls, the emails, the Facebook statuses, the newsletters, or even the blogs that we stop making a difference everyday, right where we are, simply as disciples of Jesus. I don’t know what your life looks like, but I want to see a shift in focus for our society. As moms and dads, and brothers, sisters, daughters, friends, mentors, teachers, businessmen, preachers, missionaries, no matter your role, let’s take time to turn the technology off and look around. Do you see your kids playing there, go play with them without putting it on instagram. Do you see that man on the street go feed him and pray for him without putting it on facebook. Do you see your spouse over there on the couch, write the emails later, and go snuggle up next to her without your phone in your hand. Do you see that cashier at Trader Joe’s, put your phone back in your pocket and ask her how her day has been. I actually spoke to my friend yesterday and I said, "I don't put the best things that happen in my life on social media and I don't put my worst things there, most of the greatest and worst things in my life are only known by my closest friends." I don't want to reduce the importance of relationship with my family, friends, and mentors by allowing everyone in the social media world in on personal information. I want those closest to me to know that they are worth holding the things most valuable to me. I want them to know that they're worth more than a post on social media or an email. I love technology and I’m so thankful for it. Most of the people I’m closest to in my life live in different states and even on different continents. I get to speak to them daily, see them through Skype and facetime, and even visit them because of technology. The gospel is spreading rapidly thanks to the Jesus film in multiple languages, solar powered Bibles, planes, and other forms of technology. We can encourage the body of Christ around the world by things like this daily devotionals, blogs, or Facebook posts. Technology has been such a great benefit for the expansion of the Kingdom.
I just know at the end of the day it should be Him that leads us, directs us, guides us, and consumes our attention not the technology that is used for His purposes.
Be Blessed, Jessika Tate
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