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Posts Tagged ‘distraction’

Regular church attenders often hear of the need to be good stewards of the things God has given them.  This reminder generally comes right around offering time, and usually refers to how their money is spent.  But in my lifetime, I’ve found that there are things which are far more valuable than money, and two or those are time and energy.  And while we wouldn’t dream of feeding dollar bills into a shredder, I would submit that within our culture we frequently do this with our time and energy.

 

We’ve long been a society that spends a significant amount of resources on recreation and our hobbies (e.g. hunting, fishing, boating, motorcycling, skiing, classic cars, season tickets…).  And with all of the advances in technology, we have a created a million new ways to keep ourselves distracted and non-productive.  Estimates indicate that roughly 40 million people will spend almost two billion dollars, and countless man-hours, to play Fantasy football this year.  While industry metrics indicate that almost 165 million people will spend a measurable portion of their day playing video games on their smartphones (or other electronic devices).  In the 2nd quarter of this year, over 304 million people spent an incalculable amount of time broadcasting their reactions, opinions, and comments on Twitter.  And Instagram recently reported that they now have over 400 million users, filling cyberspace with selfies and other superfluous material.  All of this, while marriages, and children, and communities, deteriorate from neglect.

 

The Apostle Paul said that a good soldier doesn’t involve themselves in civilian affairs, and as children of God, we must remember that our days on this earth are numbered.  We can ill afford to piddle away that time on useless distractions, while the work of the kingdom goes undone.  To whom much is given, much is required.

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With the extensive and rapid developments in today’s technology, our world is being transformed right before our eyes.  But the benefits of these changes have also been accompanied by some unforeseen consequences.  One example of this would be the use of cellphones while driving.  Originally thought to be just a question of texting and driving, now experts speak of the broader issue of “distracted driving.”  As a father of four, I can testify that it is not only drivers that are distracted, and that it’s not just kids who suffer from this affliction.  Truth be told, we’ve become a society of multi-taskers, which we like to rationalize as a good thing, though I have serious doubts.  It has become truly rare to see people give their full attention to just about anything, and I would like to suggest that this is ultimately to our detriment.

 

If we are not intentional, we will fall into the trap of satisfying ourselves with the quantity of items checked off our to-do list, even though we’re not doing any of them particularly well.  I have found that the things I love require some of my “undivided” attention.  Though I ascribe to the notion that we ought to pray without ceasing, I recognize that my ongoing conversation with God does not constitute my undivided attention.  I’ve found that there are times when I must divorce myself from every other thing, and simply be with Him.  Though my wife and I try to do life together as much as possible, there are times when she needs me to lay everything else aside so that she can be the object of my full attention.  Even though my kids are getting older (ages 14yrs to 21yrs), they still need for me to reserve a space that is uniquely theirs.  And when I’m the one who’s got the grandkids, I can’t allow myself to get distracted by anything else.

 

As I watch our culture change, I am concerned that we are losing our ability to give anything our full attention, and that we’re raising a generation that is largely devoid of that capacity.  If I am right about that, the results could be catastrophic, especially to our relationships.

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