I guess most of us feel that our lives are busier and more complicated than they used to be. We realise that we are often doing more things, and have less available time. Partly as things become more efficient, the result is there is more time to do other things. On the face of it, that seems like a positive step forward. Yet there is also more pressure to keep things going. The picture of a person spinning plates on sticks comes to mind. The more plates that are spinning, the more time is required to keep the plates spinning. If the spin is not maintained the plates slow down, wobble, fall off and break. The biggest change for me has been the advances in technology which allow us to be in constant contact to talk, send and receive emails and access the Internet. On the face of it all positive and helpful. Yet, I read stories of people not being able to switch off or disconnect. They lose sleep and become fearful that they might miss something important. Equally, people become addicted to games or a particular media platform, it means they withdraw from the physical world and want to inhabit a virtual world. Technology in itself is neutral, it is neither good nor bad. It is how it is used that alters our perception of how useful or harmful it might be.
I also believe most of us are getting a lot of information or requests that we do not want and have not asked for. There are people wanting our feedback, wanting us to take part in a survey and offering too good to be true deals. Or more worryingly people trying to profit from our vulnerability or weakness. There are stories of people being afraid to answer the phone because they know there will be someone trying to trick them out of their money. It seems ironic that in this instance people become cut off and isolated in the security of their homes.
There is now an awareness that is not about how much we do, but more importantly, the effectiveness of how we use our time. It is interesting that my notions of God do not revolve around how much I do, but how effective I work with people. It is an easy mistake to believe that we need to build up a balance of goodwill in God’s eyes. When we meet God, we can be proud of how much we have done. In many ways we are looking at this the wrong way around, what we do for others should be an acknowledgement of how much God has already done for us. We are not building up credit but sharing the many things that God has provided for us. We are also called to be calm, to be still and to listen. Only by listening might we hear what God wants us to do. Perhaps our business is stopping us from the really important relationships we need to nurture?
Rev. Martin Wood. The Rectory, Church Lane, Cheriton Bishop EX6 6HY 01647 24119 (Tuesday to Sunday) [email protected]