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Closing in on Contentment

It seems the more we progress, the harder it is to be content. We have better televisions, better phones and better appliances than we have ever had. We have better modes of transportation than any generation before us. We have technological advantages that seemed like science fiction just a few years ago. I was reflecting yesterday just how connected I am to my sons even though they all live in different states. Just to give you one example, I was disappointed that I was going to miss one of my youngest son’s college football games while he was playing against his older brother’s alma mater. I was going to be driving from Western Indiana to Louisville, Kentucky at game time. But, I have a cellular broadband card for my laptop. I was able to connect to the internet while Pam drove on the freeway and I watched the game at 65 miles per hour. It was awesome but it created a whole new level of expectation. I now fight disappointment any time I miss a game because they are all projected on the internet.
I am also amused how impatient I have become with computer issues. It was not long ago that the internet was just a topic of discussion. Now it has become an expectation of constant and immediate connection with anyone at any time. Rather than marvel at the advancement and remain patient with the problem-solving, I find myself irritated and stressed over processes that were not even possible a couple of years ago.
The details have changed but the struggle is nothing new. The book of Haggai begins with a similar scenario. The people of Israel had focused on pulling their lives together. They had built homes and businesses. They had their city functioning well and their needs were being addressed. Contentment, however, was elusive. “You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” (v. 6) The point of the chapter is that Israel could not find the contentment they were looking for because their priorities were out of focus. There was nothing wrong with their houses, their food, their clothes or their professional pursuits. The problem was they were ignoring the fact that the spiritual foundation of their nation was in disrepair. The temple, referred to as the house of God, was unusable because it was in shambles. ““Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” (v. 4) They couldn’t find contentment because the issues of the heart were being ignored.
This creates quite a challenge for me, my family and my friends. Every advancement is a potential distraction from the real source of life. It is easy to rely on social networking, virtual research and computer-driven processes to meet the needs of our lives. It is much harder to value the simple skills of personal devotions, quiet times of prayer, personal reflection and simple conversations with family and friends when life is filled with impressive gadgets. It is not an either or scenario. God never told the Israelites to get rid of their houses or the advantages in their lives. He simply reminded them to do first things first, which is the secret to contentment.
Lord, give us wisdom in the coming year to recognize the priority of things as we are inundated with new possibilities.

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One Response

  1. In hearty and virtual agreement Bill. Were it not for digital technology and internet, we would not be edifying one another as frequently, instantly and on an international, interlingual and cross-cultural scale as we do today. . . .

    The online Bible stoked our passion and harnessed our faith with exhaustive rock solid knowledge of the Truth, the complete Truth and nothing but the Truth!

    GPS satelite technology in a smart phone has made navigating Mexico City and every other city in Mexico a total blast as we serve churches throughout the nation in forming leaders.

    Smartphones that allow us to make unlimited national phone calls as if they were local calls eliminate financial inhibitions allowing ministry to take place like never before.

    Skype must be from heaven – it’s like the free gift of eternal life! (also eliminates pretexts for not keeping in touch internationally.)

    Thank God for our daily bread – hardly a day goes by without communicating with others via email. How delicious is a timely word from a distant land!

    Thank God for the bundles of time and money we save by searching for best travel online and for cutting edge and up-to-date medical research (Yeh Google!!!) in order to live life to the fullest.

    I love I-Pods, I-Pads, I-Phones, I-Tunes and I-Do’s! Download movies, listen to Christian broadcasts, music, sermons, teaching, up-to-the-minute news – even from the jungles of South America!

    We are exceedingly blessed in order to be an exceeding blessing!

    Indeed we are of all generations the most fortunate!

    Whether we be the wisest of all generations is yet to be seen, for how each of us stick to the basics in this digital age – walking in the Spirit, abiding in the Son, feeding on His Word, loving one another fervently, exhorting one another daily, taking all thoughts captive to obedience of Christ Jesus our Lord, dead to self, filled with the Holy Spirit. . . will determine our destiny while the love of many grows cold.

    Thank you for your example Bill, yet I think we gotta admit it,
    we have become digital junkies!

    HOW ABOUT THIS AS A EULOGY TO TECHNOLOGY:

    I am not ashamed of digital technology, for it is the power of mankind for progress, unto all those who scroll, for the Nerds first and then also for the Geeks. 🙂

    Check out Romans 1:16.

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