Hello, are you there?

Read: Luke 10:38-42

I heard a story recently about a man who was criticizing other patrons in a restaurant for looking at their cell phones and not paying attention to the people right around them. The man said to his friends, “they might as well be here alone.” After the man was done ranting about the cell phone junkies to his buddies he immediately preceded to pick up his newspaper and continue reading.

One scripture passage that comes to mind with that story is the one in Matthew 7:3 that says, “why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” That verse fits that story well but we might also agree that the man being critical does have a point about our constant focus on screens (or a paper in his case) instead of the people around us.

The story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10 is a fitting example of someone (Martha) who is consumed with things that are not important and someone else (Mary) who is consumed with someone (Jesus) who is very important. Are we paying attention to the important people that God has placed right around us, or are we too consumed by what everyone else is doing on social media? If you are not on social media perhaps you are spending too much time searching for the next greatest deal on craigslist or monitoring the latest sports scores.

God has placed these people (spouse, children, friends) in your life for a very important reason. Don’t get caught up in all of the things that Martha got caught up in. Those things may be important in some respects but they are never more important than people and the relationships that you build with those people. I have a smartphone too, and I often need to remind myself of this.

Jesus gives us the perfect example of being present with people in his midst. His love for them, concern for them, and relationship with them was always more important than the next thing on his agenda. He said that much to Mary and Martha in this passage. His example should be our example.

It’s been some years now since the Verizon commercials that said, “can you hear me now” were on T.V.. We don’t want the people in our lives asking us that same question. We want them to know that we hear them, care about them, and want to be present with them. At least I hope that is our desire!

Make it personal: If this cell phone or internet age has been a struggle for you, try to be more disciplined about the time and attention you give to those things for a couple days. Think about the time you spend with the important people in your lives compared to the time you spend looking at a screen, however big or small that screen (or newspaper) may be. Perhaps those several days of thinking about it could turn over a new leaf in your relationship with those people.

Have a blessed week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church