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Sometime ago as I was walking up to the entrance of a hospital to make a visit, I watched a guy sailing by on a skateboard holding a drink of some kind in one hand and looking at his cell phone in the other hand. Was that multi-tasking? Or sheer lunacy? Unfortunately, in our world of ever-increasing technological capabilities, people seem to be doing more rather than being more.
It’s been said that the world wide web is literally rewiring our brains. For example, we are told that the average person checks his or her email 37 times per day. The most recognized sound in the world is the “ding” of e-mail landing in one’s inbox, triggering the urge to immediately respond. It seems that technology may even be the new idolatry. For example, I read about a churchgoer walking up to take communion while covertly working his Blackberry! How sad when a person’s thoughts become so distracted that he can’t focus on that which is of supreme importance.
Truth be known, the benefits of multitasking are more myth than fact. It’s been pointed out that what now passes for multitasking was once just called “not paying attention.” Furthermore, the University of Utah found that drivers speaking on mobile phones are as impaired as drunk drivers. And in an article dealing with the cost of task switching, the writer points out that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back on task after having your work interrupted by something unrelated.
We live in an age where many have lost their focus. God’s way, however, is not that we do more but that we be more. And that means doing less of those things that don’t reach priority status with Him. In other words, we are called to live a focused life. We can’t do everything (and certainly not all at once!) but we can do something. We can focus on God Himself and what He has called us to do. The Bible says, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). Now, that’s a life of focus! And those who faithfully follow the Savior, experience that kind of clarity and spiritual purpose in life.
Bible teacher Calvin Miller gave great advice when he succinctly declared: “Define your times. Treasure your calling. Pray without ceasing. The terrors of the age are less than the grandeur of the Christ within you.” As we are entering a New Year, may we seize every opportunity to live life on purpose!