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A Thief in the Palm of the Hand

Perhaps I am a bit out of touch with reality, but the modern electronic devices that seem to have taken over our world do not appeal to me so much. In fact, I think I would be pretty content with the world that I was born in to—we had no access to computers, cell phones, and none of most of the instruments that have overtaken today’s society. Out of necessity I use computers and I do more on my cell phone than I ever dreamed possible, and there is no doubt that they serve useful and helpful purposes. In a few minutes I will punch a series of buttons and this written piece will instantly reach several newspaper offices. I remember when I had to hand deliver my writings personally to the editor’s office, so I do not disagree with the fact that the computer delivery system is obviously much quicker, easier, and more efficient than some of the methods of the past. But even with the benefits of what we have access to in our day, those things might be robbing more from us than we want to admit.

I cannot help but be concerned when Gale and I sit down in a restaurant and I look around at the tables to observe so many diners disconnected from each other as they pour their attention into phones and other devices. If we are not careful and watchful, the many gadgets that we have come to like so much can consume our time and attention to the degree that our most important relationships can suffer. If we kept a tally on how much of our time each day gets devoured by using such gadgets we would probably be shocked. And perhaps we would be even more shocked—and maybe even ashamed—if we compared that time to the amount of time that we spend with God and family. We would all do well to evaluate what we are giving the most attention to and make necessary adjustments as needed.

Luke 10 records the event of Jesus Christ visiting the home of Martha and her sister, Mary. Both of the ladies were honored to have their special guest in their home, but they responded in very different ways. Martha was so occupied with all the preparations for the event that she had no time to focus undivided attention on Christ. Mary, on the other hand, “sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said” (Verse 39, New International Version). Being aware of what was taking place, He responded, ““Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her”” (Verses 41-42).

Martha was doing a good thing as she made preparations for her guest, but Mary chose to do what was best: listening unhindered to His words of grace and truth. There are times when we need to lay aside good things so we can concentrate on what is best. It takes undivided attention to really get to know someone and to nurture a healthy relationship with them. That certainly applies to our family lives as well as to our spiritual lives.

If we expect to be successful in our family and spiritual life it is essential for each of us to be alert and attentive, taking time to give undivided attention to God and to the family that He has blessed us with. While the temptation to do otherwise is great, we all need to be careful that we do not let that thief in the palm of our hands—or any other distraction–rob us of what can never be replaced or regained. Whatever time God gives us on this earth can only be used once. Let’s be sure that we do not squander it away on things that are not so important and, instead, invest it in what is of greater value than fine gold.