We are in the middle of a series at church about how technology influences our lives – and how insidious it can be without us even being aware of how we are being impacted. Each week we have been challenged with another aspect of how technology touches our lives and unless you have been living on a deserted island or in a cave without electricity for years, you know that our lives are being altered by our dependence on our smartphones, tablets, computers, smart televisions and a host of other products that weren’t even invented at the turn of the century twenty years ago.
In fact, our iPhones that we take for granted today have more than 100,000 times the processing power of the computers on the Apollo spacecraft that went to the moon 50 years ago. And that’s not a typo – 100,000 times the computing power! To put this in perspective, the computers on the Apollo would not have had enough memory to store this post. Let that sink in… and think about all the things we do with our phones – social media, word processing, email – even a calculator function – to say nothing of the games that we tend to amuse ourselves with.
Yet the genius of our engineers successfully send Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins to the moon; and returned them safely back to earth in 1969. What an accomplishment!
To illustrate our dependence on technology, yesterday, our church initiated a day of rest from using our screens – a tech Sabbath, if you will. So, this meant no mobile phones, social media, television, computer screens, gaming or anything else that depends on screens. On the surface this sounds like it would be quite easy, but in reality it was very difficult.
So before I go any further, let me say that Janet and I had some special allowances as our daughter, Kristin, and her family were moving out of their home and some communication was necessary. But we certainly got the message, and the lesson, about dependence on our screens.
There were all kinds of stories about what people learned from the experience. For example, we attend church on Saturday evening so when we got to the sanctuary, paper sheets were handed out with the words to all the songs, as the screens around the church were dark. There were no informational videos or welcome messages. If people were trying to get somewhere, they had to depend on paper maps as Google and GPS were off limits. And you couldn’t listen to music unless you had cd’s or vinyl – your music library on the phone was off limits also.
The thing that people tended to mention the most was the fact that we are used to living in an instant gratification society. So if you want to know something, you can search the internet in a fraction of a second to find the answer. Our sense of wonder has been compromised because we can look anything up at our leisure. But not yesterday… you had to wait, or look in a book, or do an old fashioned search – kind of like the old Dewey Decimal System we used to have at the library – if you are old enough to remember that.
People became more conscious of focusing on heavenly things rather than the amount of time that they concentrated on earthly things that really don’t matter. Of course, I think that many of the things that we learned were biblical in nature. Focusing on God, and less on the things of this world, is a place that we should all be spending more time. And that brings us to our verse for tonight.
The apostle Paul, in his letter to the church at Colossae, cautioned us to focus on things above. He tells the Colossians, and us, in Col. 3:1-2, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” That’s a great encouragement for all of us – focus on the things of heaven. Because God loves it when we become more like Jesus – progressively sanctified.
My prayer is that all of us will assess the time we spend chasing the things of the world that really don’t mean too much. And just maybe, in the process, we will all spend a little less time trying to accumulate “likes” on FaceBook or trying to let people know every little thing we are doing. Even a small step is a step in the right direction. Have a great day in the Lord grace and peace…