The present is a gift
Proverbs 13:17 An unreliable messenger stumbles into trouble, but a reliable messenger brings healing.
Proverbs 18:21 The tongue can bring death or life, those who love to talk will reap the consequences.
Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.
1 John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
I think it is sad to be in a restaurant and see all at the table playing with their devices, whatever they are—usually cell phones, but now you will see young children watching movies, playing games on their brightly colored tablets. There is no interaction; I’m not sure if the parents even run through the menu and ask the children what they would like to eat before the wait staff comes for the order.
When I was growing up, our father worked the 3-11:30 PM so obviously most of the time he was not home after school, and very rarely was he out of bed before we hurried off to school at 7. But he was available every weekend. Even on weekdays, we ate as a family, consisting of my mother, my maternal grandmother, and the three of us. My mother had a cow bell and would ring that about 5 PM and we best be in, washing hands and sitting at the table within 15 minutes.
Once seated, grace was said, and then we chatted while serving ourselves from whatever the offerings were for that evening. But the important thing listed in the last sentence is we chatted.
My brother and I ran with the same bunch of friends, so we usually knew what was going on in each other’s life; our sister is a few years younger, and although she might know of things going on in my life, there were some activities I prayed she would not reveal. I was the cool teen sneaking cigarettes, going outside the neighborhood boundaries, and she had ears which heard many things I preferred her not to know, always nervous she would be tattling.
But what is important and still brings a smile to me 50 years later, is we chatted, we knew one another. We knew plans other members of the table or family were looking forward to or were making. We connected with each other, not a piece of electronics.
On weekends when my father was home, I could hear discussions between my parents on any matter of concerns they were chatting about. My father made a point to call each evening at 5 and then again at 8:45 PM. He would initially talk with our mother, then would check in with us, at least one of those phone calls.
Family was important, communication, discussing feelings, consequences of breaking rules and what was happening in various areas of the world were all topics freely discussed. We knew how other members felt regarding different things, and we might disagree with them, you still respected their view—but you knew it. You spoke to one another, you listened to each other, and because you had a true relationship you cared about what one another was going through or expecting.
How does anyone know members of their nucleus family if they don’t talk, they don’t interact? It makes me sad to see tables in a restaurant and so many at the same table are interacting with their device. When my family come to visit, devices are not allowed to interrupt a meal.
Our pastor repeated a phrase he’d heard at a conference some time ago. “I’m not so concerned with weapons of mass destruction as I am concerned with weapons of mass distraction.” And it is so true. Folks seem to have a need to fill any down time with a game, reading social media, scrolling through texts, and so forth. There is little communication, verbal interaction so one can hear inflections, see the other’s face and eyes, and truly listen to what is being said. Our relationships are going to continue to disintegrate per Satan’s plan if we don’t maintain some kind of control and keep remembering how important actual communication and personal interaction. Emojis just don’t get the same effect. We need folks to listen to us and just as important we need to listen to others to truly understand feelings, fears, concerns, worries, goals, desires within our own families. I think that is horrifically sad.
I believe a lot of the reason there is more electronic distraction is because it is another very successful way Satan has of pulling us away from God, love, family, and the core of what He created.
His Word repetitively tells us to read and imprint His words on our hearts and minds—can’t be done if you are not reading them, studying them and meditating on them. He put the desire in us to reach and search for something beyond us. Not everyone knows what this restlessness is, and try to eliminate it by working harder and longer, reading material other than His words, maybe writing their own stories, being creative in many different ways.
Now, I believe that restlessness is the chief cause for many of these devices. ‘It’s a challenge for my brain to do this game.’ ‘I just need to see what so and so said about such and such.’ ‘Just let me read this one thing, and then I’m all yours.’ There are a gazillion more excuses folks say when they realize they are not communicating with the others they are with, only playing with their devices.
Each moment we spend with others is a gift. We should enjoy them; we supposedly made plans to spend time with these people. So why are you then disrespecting them and playing on a device? A device is not going to show you affection, is not giving a display of life, praise, and is certainly not honoring you, not respecting you. Life can end in a moment; and if you are the one left behind, how do you handle the regrets of not spending quality time with your loved one? Do you think that device, game, social media tidbit is going to assuage your guilt, your grief, your regrets?
These are handy instruments for communicating, learning, and are amazing when you examine the capabilities packed into a couple square inches, but God created man to have a relationship with Himself and to have relationships with one another. We need to rediscover the connection of really coming to know others in our circle of family and friends. Who are these people? Put your devices down and open a conversation. It might surprise you to find out who they are and how much they have to offer. Have a chat with those you have chosen to spend this moment, this present with. The present is a gift, no one is guaranteed another day or moment, so treat is as the special gift it is and enjoy one another face to face.
Thank You, God, that I love to chat and find out who people are and what they have been through. I love finding who You are and who I am in You. And although I appreciate my device in many ways, I am so thankful that I chat with You and get to know others as people. It’s fulfilling for me and ‘mybellaviews.’