Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Consider This

One day unplugged and my inbox is jammed with over 100 emails.  I'm talking really important stuff, like 3 invitations to Farmville from my Facebook account; 7 spam messages claiming I have won millions; advertisements I never asked to receive.  I have texts, tweets, voice messages and Instagrams to either view or listen to.

I stopped to look at my calendar to try to find time to have coffee with someone and can't seem to carve out an hour slot for the next two weeks.  What is wrong with this picture?

We live in a culture of over-communication.  We are so connected that we are disconnected and distracted.  We exchange words without exchanging meaningful dialog.  Some people have forgotten (or never learned) how to have a meaningful conversation face to face with someone.  We are exposed to an estimated 500 to 2000 messages a day.  And we aren't geared to process all that.

We also live in a culture of over-commitment.  Too many "yeses" and not enough "no's."  So much to do and not enough time.  We look for moments to cram more into and miss decades.  We refuse the discipline of limiting ourselves and our children to less options.  The story I usually hear from families involves traveling leagues; musicals; tutoring; camps; overtime; community involvements.  Important things and relationships are sacrificed on the altar of "just a little bit more."

We also live in a culture of confusion.  As one writer put it:

Cultural confusion results from a growing lack of consensus about what is proper or appropriate in given circumstances. If people get the idea that there are no society-wide or community-wide standards of behavior and comportment that one really ought to follow, not because one might otherwise be punished but because it is simply the right thing to do, cultural confusion can result: There seems to be no answer to many of life’s daily questions of manners, etiquette, and propriety. People might come to conclude that more or less anything goes in the service of people’s individual preferences—as a former professor of mine put it, “you should do whatever you can get away with.” Although this kind of freedom may gratify and serve the individual in the moment, it threatens social order in the long run.

  In such a culture, Jesus said we are to come to Him and He will "give us rest."  But how?  The essence of it is this:  He will simplify our lives around His purposes.  We can turn off all streams of communication that don't keep us connected or informed about His mission and those we are engaging.  Second, He gives us the ability to sift through the infinite possibilities of commitments to those He has outlined for us.  Again, simplification, the ability to say "no" to over-commitment.  And finally, He clarifies life for us and gives us a consistent standard to live by.

Jesus brings rest.  Satan brings rush.  Jesus teaches with clarity.  Satan desires to keep us in confusion.  Jesus loves us eternally.  Satan leads us to exhaustion and frustration and ultimately, death.

I encourage us to unplug from the over the top life and plug into the real life found in Jesus Christ.