When I was a child, I knew some people who did nothing but watch television. They sat in their recliners and absorbed continuous loops of game shows, sitcoms, and sporting events. The television was always on—even during meals.
I noticed something about these people. They watched TV because it was fun. Its newscasts, dramas, and soap operas seemed more interesting than whatever was happening in their lives. Yet the more they watched exciting shows, the more boring they became. The same television that connected them to the outside world also shrank them. They became zombies, unable to hold their end of a conversation because they had nothing to talk about.
Something similar is occurring today. I know people who are always plugged in. They live their days online, surfing the Internet, checking email, and thumbing through text messages. They rarely speak to the person beside them, for they’re absorbed in whatever news or video is streaming on their digital device. Their cell phone is always on—even during meals.
This technology is more active than watching television, but it’s no less draining. We go online because it’s exciting, and yet the more time we surf the less interesting we become. Try holding a conversation with someone who’s tethered to his or her cell phone. There isn’t much to say, and you’ll probably be interrupted anyway.
Today’s technology is producing shallow people, which is a problem for teaching the gospel (Ephesians 5:15). Jesus said He came “to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10), but what does this mean to people who seldom think beyond their next text?
This problem eludes easy solutions. We don’t want to eliminate technology, but we must control it. Jesus gave us one life to live; let’s use it in wise ways—not in foolish or thoughtless pursuits (Ephesians 5:16-17).
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Joshua 5:13–6:27
Read Matthew 25:14-30 and reflect on how technology can help and hinder us from becoming faithful servants.
How does time online affect you? How can you control your technology so that it doesn’t control you?