THE UNSETTLING MINISTRY OF MULTI-TASKING

 

I’ve updated my technology gadgets recently. Now I can reach out and touch someone in multiple ways. Text, email, Facebook, Tweeting, and EVEN talking! I can even send the latest picture of my grandson to my mom and dad!

With every new gadget, however, there’s a downside. I’m just as reachable for everyone else as they are for me. For those of us who think that’s a pretty neat thing there’s the danger of caution zone that is about to be entered.

The ability and time to be quiet and ponder the things of God is being diminished. As I write those words I have links at the bottom of my laptop screen for my email and Facebook. I’m tempted to see if someone has sent me a message on Facebook in the past two minutes, because when you’re talking about the urgent moments of life checking Facebook ranks right up there! Right?

It’s appropriate that the theme of summer camp this year is “Unplugged.” For some young people to go six days without any on-line social networking is like going into de-tox. Wait a minute! I’m afraid the same can be said for most adults. I’m starting to quiver just thinking about it.

At camp we have a daily “FOYB” time. That stands for, ironic as it sounds, “Flat On Your Back.” I’m coming to the belief that we need a time period each day when we’re unavailable in order to be available. That is, block out a two hour time period in order to be available to the whisper of the Holy. Some people might say that is easy . . . no problem . . . done! Others would respond to that suggestion with the words “ludicrous” and “insane.” In other words, I can’t do that!

Multi-tasking results in minimal listening. It gives equal time to the mundane and the urgent.

· I read Psalms, while listening to Lady Gaga and watching Bridezilla.

· I read “Our Daily Bread” while texting my friends about what movie we’re going to that night.

· I’m talking to someone about what God wants to do in their life, while hearing someone talking to me through my Bluetooth, and deciding what extra-value meal to order.

· I’m texting someone about work on Monday while in the midst of a congregation that has just been asked to pray silently for a few moments and listen to the small still voice of God.

It’s not that multi-tasking is an evil that needs to be weeded out. It’s a potential practice that can become an obsession. The obsession can blind us to what God really desires to be about.

Let me frame it in a different context. Think back to someone you used to date that you really cared about. If you need to go current, please do. You’re sitting in a Starbucks talking to this person. The conversation starts going a little deeper. About the time you have a life-changing question to ask the person, he/she gets a text from someone with that annoying little sound that accompanies it. The interruption is brief, but it takes a few moments to get the conversation flowing again. About the time another crossroads comment is about to be made the person gets another text with an attached humorous photo. This conversational ebb and flow keeps happening until you do an inner sigh and give up. That would be frustrating, wouldn’t it be?

Imagine if in this scene God was you (just this once!) and you were the one who kept getting distracted. Is it possible that God would become frustrated with your lack of focus on what He deeply desires to share with you?

Many of us wouldn’t know to answer, because we’re oblivious to our multi-tasking ADD lives. Perhaps you, and I, might take a tech break today—unplugged here in order to be plugged in to a higher power.

Pastor Bill

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