- Eldon Peterson
Too Busy For Relationships?
Let me open by stating the obvious – there are 24 hours in the day. There, I said it! There were 24 hours in a day when you were a kid and when you parents and grandparents were kids. Not earth shattering news I know, but why is it that we seem to have so less time than we had a generation ago? Part of the reason is the growth of technology.
Since the 1950s, there have been many new technological innovations and with each one, there was the promise that they would make our lives easier, faster, and simpler. Yet, we have no more “free” or leisurely time today than we did decades ago. In fact, rather than giving us more time we have simply reallocated our 24 hours.
Once, the family would gather around the television to watch a show as a family, then in the 70’s when the VCR started to gain popularity families no longer needed to gather together at one time or place to watch something together. They could record a TV program to watch later individually or alone. Today, with the DVR, it is seamless.
The busier we got and the more technological help we received, the more isolated we became. Have any of the technological developments that brought our families together. Maybe I’m missing one, but I cannot think of any. Technology has filled our days with activities that we do alone.
All too often it seems that the free time that we have gained from technology has been filled with more technology that encourages isolation. Computers, social media, game systems, mp3 players, you name it, today we are officially too busy to have face to face interaction.
Now some will tell me that it is just the way it is or possibly that there is nothing wrong with this, but I will argue that this is contrary to how God has designed us. Since busyness and technology leads to isolation, I think that it is time for us to revisit the question of priorities.
First, I cannot imagine any man in history that had more demands on his time that Jesus. Yet all four gospels record times where he sought out times to be alone to pray. Jesus began his ministry by not allowing the demands of others to rule his schedule. Luke tells us, “At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” (4:42-43)
How does this help us? By reminding us that we can and at times need to say no to the demands of others in order do the things that please God. There is nothing inherently evil in technology and entertainment, but they can push us away from what is of greatest importance – our relationship with Christ and one another.
There are many good things that surround us that place demands on our time. However, our choice is not between idleness and overbooked – instead we must choose to be wise in what we do. Jesus instructed his disciples saying, “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37)
Inevitably our busyness will not only wear us out it will isolate us from the very fellowship that God has created for us to experience. Paul testifies to how the marriage relationship is a picture of Christ’s relationship with the church; he calls the church the bride of Christ. In the Trinity we see that the co-eternal God exists in the community of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We find that the believer is called a child of God and that the church is referred to as a family. God has created us to be in relationship with the people around us and anything that destroys this community is not good.
God has given us the gathering place for believers that we call the church. It is here that we not only hear the hope of the gospel but where we experience the fellowship that Christ died to bring us. I know the reasons that you might give to turn from Christ’s church but my challenge to you is to be honest about it – how many of our “reasons” are nothing more than excuses?