Hi, this is Pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…”Where’s my phone!?!”
The other day I got up and did all of the things I do on any other day. I dressed, went downstairs and let the dogs out into the back yard. While they were outside, I started a pot of coffee, put food and water down for them and then let them back in so they could eat their breakfast. Finally, it was time for my wife Lynn and I to settle into our chairs with our steaming cups of coffee and our bibles. We spend this time the same way every morning. We really enjoy getting to see each other invest in our personal relationship with Jesus. Beyond the confidence and spiritual intimacy that instills in our marriage, it offers us the opportunity to share with one another what we are reading about and learning from God’s word. We rarely find that we are reading in the same places in the scripture. As a result, the ability to share with one another what we are personally learning affords us the gift of encouraging each other before we begin our day, each of us going our separate ways to meet daily responsibilities.
As that sweet time came to its unavoidable conclusion that morning, I arose from my chair, filled my travel mug with its prescribed dose of coffee, grabbed my keys and headed out the front door toward my car. I got in as I have done countless times before, turned the key and backed out of the driveway. I was nearly halfway through the 20-minute drive to church when I thought of something I wanted to check on and reached into my pocket for my cell phone…it was not there. I patted my other jean pockets…not there either. I put my hands on my jacket pockets expecting I had simply deposited it there as I grabbed my keys on the way out the door…nope. Surely, it had to be there somewhere. Right? A quick scan of the console and front passenger seat confirmed my suspicions…I had left my cell phone at home.
I felt somewhat unsure what to do. Should I return home to retrieve it and simply be late for work? I decided that wouldn’t be possible because I had a meeting scheduled as soon as I arrived and needed to be there on time. I decided to continue on to my office, email Lynn that I had left it behind, and ask her to bring it to me later in the day.
In the past, I have observed people discover their cell phone missing. Some become perturbed or frustrated without it, knowing that necessary tasks will be more difficult minus their phone in hand. I have watched others exhibit signs of full-blown separation anxiety at the realization that they are detached from their phone. They show visible signs of concern that quickly turn to worry and sometimes even verge on panic that their electronic device is not in their immediate possession. On occasion, I have seen this displayed to the point that you would think the person in question had left some life saving device behind!
Why do we react in those ways when we find that our cell phones are missing albeit temporarily? I believe we have become so dependent upon them that no matter the level, most of us feel some sense of discomfort when we become disconnected from our phones. Many daily activities have become intertwined with the presence of a cell phone. We make and take calls, send and receive texts. With smartphones we have access to social media, news and weather forecasts for literally anywhere on the planet. Just today, I used my phone to play games, take pictures, create a PDF, send emails, listen to a book, look something up in a bible commentary, and check on the prices of a plane ticket to Orlando, Fla. We use our phones for nearly everything. They have become such an integral part of our daily lives it is no wonder we want them close at hand.
The bible talks about something we should be even more careful with than we are our cell phones. Something that we should be far more certain to never let out of our sight and consideration. Interestingly, the way that it speaks about it, one could almost imagine in our day and age that it is in fact, a cell phone that is being referred to. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 reads as follows in the Good News Translation: 4 “Israel, remember this! The Lord—and the Lord alone—is our God. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 Never forget these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working. 8 Tie them on your [hands]and wear them on your [heads] as a reminder. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.
These verses speak of the most important thing we can remember to keep nearby at all times…and it isn’t our cell phone. Verse 4 reminds us that there is only one God, and He is supposed to be our Lord. Understanding full well I risk offending someone, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take today, I have a question. This isn’t a public challenge, and no one but you will know how you answer, so be honest. What would you say your actions indicate is more important to you, your bible or your cell phone? Which do you pay closer attention to? Which would you be more anxious if you didn’t know where it was for a full day? The answers to those questions beg the next. Who is your God? Is it the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, or the god of At&T, T-Mobile and Verizon?
I like the way this scripture covers all of the bases. It reminds us that there can be but one god in our lives, and He ought to be The Lord God. It tells us how we will know who our god is, because who (or what) we love with ALL our heart, ALL our soul and ALL our strength will identify that. Verse 6 gives very important instruction as to how to keep putting God in His rightful place in our lives. We must always remember His instructions to us. We are to find every way possible to remind ourselves daily how He wants us to interact with Him and with those around us. In verse 7 we’re told to teach His ways to our children. We pass on to our kids many things. We illustrate regularly through our words and actions the things we think are most important, and what they should find important as well. The things we give the greatest value to, they will as also. If we want our kids to find God most important, we have to make it evident that nothing could be more important to us than God is in our life.
It goes on to say God’s praise and instruction should always be in the forefront of our conversations. Everywhere and all the time. When we are at home or when we are away. When we are at work or taking it easy. There is no time or place inappropriate to consider what God would have us do. I especially like verse 8. It says we should tie or bind God’s word to our hands and our heads. I like this because it is intended to be symbolic of attaching His written direction to our actions (the hand) and our thoughts (the head), and how we should let Him guide both. However, it is a bit amusing that it is prophetically analogous of the contemporary competition for our attention. Our cell phones are seemingly always either in our hands or held up to our heads.
Finally, in verse 9 we read the closing suggestion. Write them on your doorposts and your gates. This concluding statement is meant to indicate that we should allow God’s word to both define our homes as well as be the reminder of who and whose we are before we leave there each day.
So forget your cell phone from time to time…the world won’t come to an end, that was proven earlier this week while I was a work and mine was at home on my chair. But, don’t go anywhere without the One true God…He holds your world in the palm of His hand.
So now, with God’s word continually on your mind, heart, and lips…Go be Awesome!