ODJ: no app for that

March 2, 2013 

READ: Ephesians 5:15-20  

Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do (vv.15-17).

When I was a child I knew some people who did nothing but watch television. They sat in their armchairs and absorbed continuous loops of game shows, sitcoms and sporting events. The television was always on—even during meals.

I noticed something about these people. They watched TV because it was fun. Its newscasts, dramas and soap operas seemed more interesting than whatever was happening in their lives. Yet the more they watched exciting shows, the more boring they became. The same television that connected them to the outside world also shrank them. They became zombies, unable to hold their end of a conversation because they had nothing to talk about.

Something similar is occurring today. I know people who are always plugged in. They live their days online, surfing the Internet, checking email and thumbing through text messages. They rarely speak to the person beside them, for they’re absorbed in whatever news or video is streaming on their digital device. Their mobile phone is always on—even during meals.

This technology is more active than watching television, but it’s no less draining. We go online because it’s exciting, and yet the more time we surf the less interesting we become. Try holding a conversation with someone who’s tethered to his or her mobile phone. There isn’t much to say, and you’ll probably be interrupted anyway.

Today’s technology is producing shallow people, which is a problem for teaching the gospel (Ephesians 5:15). Jesus said He came “to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10), but what does this mean to people who seldom think beyond their next text?

This problem eludes easy solutions. We don’t want to eliminate technology, but we must control it. Jesus gave us one life to live; let’s use it in wise ways—not in foolish or thoughtless pursuits (Ephesians 5:16-17). —Mike Wittmer

› Joshua 5:13-6:27

Read Matthew 
25:14-30 and reflect on how technology can help and hinder us from becoming faithful servants. 
How does time online affect you? How can you control your technology so that it doesn’t control you?