What do these have in common: One Hour Photo Labs, Floppy Disks, Personal Digital Assistants, Overhead projectors, VHS tapes, Paper Road Maps, A Phone Booth? If you are over 35, you might guess: “A way to determine someone’s age?”
How about these: Touch Screens, The Handshake, Keys, Reusable Bags, The Mail Collection Box, The Clutch Pedal and Personal Privacy?
The first set, things that are no longer around. I could have included items such as the telegraph, CRT televisions and customer service. The second list are (according to those who think they know) things that will be gone soon. Can you imagine a world without keys? What are we going to point to as the reason we are late all the time? We might have to start getting up on time?? But what if clocks are not around by then?? Well, most of us don’t use them anyway, so no big loss. My point is that things are constantly coming in and out of our life. About the time we get used to having an item or we finally figure out how to use all the features, something comes along and takes its place. For some people, the idea of constant change is an exciting thing. For the rest of us, we would prefer a longer period of consistency. The truth is life moves on with or without you. Technology, people, ideas, and the world around us are constantly on the move. The best thing we can do is embrace these changes and make the most of them.
There is, however, something to be said about traditional values and the practices we learned from our grandmothers. As we listen to the stories of their youth, we imagine a simpler time and place. But in reality, they were experiencing as much change as we are now. Typewriters were replaced by the computer, horses by the tractor, the corner supermarket by the super box store and the local library by the search engine on our cellphone. Technology has done very little to bring us together but somehow our grandparents always found a way to gather us. What was it that they knew that we do not? I’m sure a great deal, but I believe the one thing they had that we don’t practice like we should is they were very intentional when it came to other people. The gifts they bought, the time they spent, the cards they wrote, were all very personal and thought through. How much effort would it take to do the same today? Not any more than they put into it, but the problem is that we have had others focusing on us for so long that we have forgotten what it was like (or we were never challenged to) to focus on someone else.
The thing I believe the world needs most now days, and the biggest impact we all can make individually is simply looking up from our devices and making eye contact with another human being. Acknowledge for a moment that the world doesn’t exist solely for our own benefit. Southerners are known for hospitality. Christians should be known by this characteristic too. Think about the impact we can have on our world if we combine these two! Southern Christian hospitality has changed our world in the past. In our lifetime we have seen former dark places being exposed to the light, but in modern times the Church has removed itself from the darker corners of our communities. Wouldn’t be horrible if in just a few years, one of the lists I mentioned above contained “Church?” What are you doing to make sure that doesn’t happen?
You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14
Serving the Savior,
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