The gift of technology
The gift of technology
BY PETE HELGREN
BSF SOFTWARE DEVELOPER
I smiled as the couple quietly bowed their heads in the restaurant. You don’t see folks pray before their meals very often these days. Then I noticed they weren’t praying: They were taking pictures of their meals with their mobile devices. Ah, the surprises that come with living in the 21st century! As a web developer at BSF Headquarters, I’m more immersed in the technical world than most. Spending my days and nights in the glow of electronic devices makes me think about how technology has crowded our lives.
What should we think of this technology explosion?
Is the news all bad?
Can technology be good?
Since Genesis, tools have been an integral part of humanity’s work. From tilling the soil (Genesis 4:2) to playing music (Genesis 4:22), God’s people use His creativity to develop and nurture a fallen world. Sometimes that creativity has pleasing results. Sometimes the results simply confirm our need for a Savior. Like all gifts and all tools, technology can either be redemptive or destructive. We see the destruction all around us. Let’s look instead at how we can use electronic tools and technology redemptively.
Technology can help us prioritize
Our 21st century lifestyles would be busy enough without technology interrupting our daily lives. Text messages and mobile apps clamor for our attention. E-mail and social media feeds crowd our days. But using technology wisely saves us time. A quick text of assurance can relieve anxiety. A quick traffic scan saves time on the road. Personal calendars streamline our meeting times.
Technology can also help us plan for the whitespace, the quiet time we need to slow down and listen for God’s still small voice. It’s that time when we put the wind, earthquakes and fires of the day behind us. Believe it or not, we humans need that quiet time. Our brains must sort through and make sense of the daily background noise. Use the tool of technology to help you plan for some quiet time with God.
Technology can collapse the distance between people
Our God is deeply relational. In the Bible, God often interacts directly with His people (Genesis 6:13; 17:1; Exodus 3:4). We know that an all-powerful God could easily solve the problem of sin at a distance. Instead, He chose to dwell with us.
God made us in His image – as personal, moral and spiritual beings. So, connecting with God and each other personally is part of what it means to be human.
Think of all the ways the Triune God could speak to us today. Daily tweets or a text message or two. And who wouldn’t love to have access to God’s Instagram account and the magnificence of Heaven? Instead, God chose to come to us in human form, and communicated that encounter to us through inspired human authors, for human good.
Embrace your God-given relational nature! Whenever you can, join with your brothers and sisters in Christ in a personal, face-to-face way. Text an invite to someone you haven’t been with in a while to join in study, prayer or encouraging conversation over coffee. Linger before or after class or your group meeting to connect. Check to see if a virtual group member lives in your area to put a physical presence on that virtual friendship you enjoy.
Use technology to schedule time to be without technology. Use impersonal electronic communication to meet personally, with someone you care about. The tools we use change us, but they shouldn’t define us. Our identity isn’t found on Facebook, it is found in Christ. So, use the tool of technology, a God-given gift, to conform to His likeness: Set aside time with our Father, seek out others personally to share Christ.
Like any tool, we can use technology for evil or for good. Remember that it IS a good gift from a good God who wants us to spend more time with Him and more quality time with each other, in person, building up the body of Christ. Yes, technology can get in the way. It can use up precious time and put distance between us when we really yearn to be together. But if we use technology wisely, we can grow close to God and to our brothers and sisters who share this love for God and love for His Word.