Scripture: Matthew 6.19-21
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Reflection: Where Our Hearts Are
By John Tillman
If our hearts are where our treasure is, our hearts may well be in our devices.
The cost of technology is high when measured simply in the money paid for devices and the data-services required for them to function. But the costs are even higher when measured by the amount of time we spend on them.
From 2015 to 2017 that time increased by 20% to five hours a day. But the cost is even more staggering when you add the opportunity cost of what a person could have accomplished in that time.
Despite so-called time-saving technology, we aren’t being relationally or spiritually productive with our time. In an article for The Atlantic on distracted parenting, Erika Christakis notes, today’s parents have more time with their children than any parents in history, but their physical presence does not achieve greater emotional connection, partly due to the distraction of devices.
According to Christakis, “Our society may be reaching peak criticism of digital devices.” But despite developing awareness of damage, demand for devices continues to rise and prices soar. We claim to hate our phones, yet are certainly willing to spend more and more money on them.
If parents have more opportunities to connect with their children and are missing them, is it any wonder that we have more opportunity than ever to seek God’s heart through the scripture, but our hearts restlessly seek appeasement elsewhere.
If we are too distracted to pay attention to relationships with people we can see and touch, how much more at risk must be our relationship with God who must be worshiped in spirit?
Our devices can be tools to lead us to God’s heart, not away from it. This ministry’s mission believes in that. But there is danger.
The companies that make our devices are invested in our distraction. One of the most valuable resources on the planet is eyeballs on screens, and ever-increasing click-thru rates. The most profitable, most powerful companies in the world maximize their profits by more effectively diverting our time into their ecosystem of products.
No matter how distracted we become, and no matter how often we misplace our hearts—serving gods of mammon, fashion, and culture—God won’t forget us. He stands ready for us to return to him.
We must prayerfully, and carefully navigate the tension of distractions that our devices can bring. May God’s Spirit help us to do so.
Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
I hate those who have a divided heart, but your law do I love. — Psalm 119.113
– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.
Read More about sustaining ourselves in God’s Word: Take and Eat
It is through daily meditation that we carry the word of God with us—breaking down the whole into discrete parts which can be processed into our thinking and habits.
Read More about Sacred Presence
Perpetual technological engagement necessarily moves people away from community.