The internet has supplied each of us with a huge amount of knowledge right at our fingertips. In a Google search, one can access anything from the writings of C.S. Lewis, to a plethora of delicious recipes. With so much information available at the click of a button, one must be wise and intentional in taking advantage of this technology. In no way should we discount the advantages that technology has enabled our society with. Rather, we must simply be aware of the time we spend using it and the many ways it can affect our lives.
As many of us personally know, one can be easily become lost when browsing through the unending pages and social media sites that the internet has to offer. While there is nothing particularly wrong with this, it is important not to let it become a black hole that our time disappears into, never to be seen again. Americans now spend an average of eleven or more hours a day consuming electronic media (Richter). Though this media can often be consumed while simultaneously accomplishing something else, this seems like an incredibly large amount of time to be plugged in. One can’t help but ponder how life would be different if we spent even half of this time doing something else. While people accomplish work-place tasks, research, keep in contact with loved ones and an array of other things through electronics, much of our time online could be deemed unnecessary.
God’s word reinforces our need to be aware of our time consumption: “Be very careful then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the Lord’s will is” (NIV, Ephesians 5:15-17). Along with every other part of our lives, we must put our use of technology under the authority of scripture. It is vital that we choose to keep technology balanced in our lives. This balance is our means for keeping authenticity in every area of our lives.
If we are not careful, technology can not only use up our time, it can also affect many other aspects of our lives. Including the ways that we relate to others, especially in friendships. According to Brown, “The modern world is becoming more and more efficient with work and less and less meaningful with human interactions. No friendship is based on efficiency” (Brown). With the dawn of modern technology, the demand for efficiency in everything from fast food to our Wi-Fi connection has been highlighted. Maybe it has a come to a point where our minds automatically separate those things that are deemed efficient and those that aren’t, such as friendship. Perhaps this is a dilemma in our way of thinking. Friendship is a necessary part of life, but it can bring about inefficient, unexpected things into our paths. Not to worry though! These deep, intentional friendships are exactly what God wants for us.
‘As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’ (NIV, Luke 10:38-42)
Mary pleased Jesus not because of anything she accomplished, not by checking of a bunch of domestic duties, but by simply spending time getting to know Him. Because she intentionally put everything aside and invested in her relationship with Jesus, she was blessed. Maybe if we choose to put aside our electronic media and need for efficiency, and instead look up from our screens and really listen to what our friends are saying, we will be blessed as well.
This creates a funny contradiction in the realm of technology. If the main point of technology is to make life more efficient, why is it one of the largest time consumers in our day and age? Friendship may not be deemed efficient, but maybe if we didn’t let this efficient technology use up so much our time, we would actually be able to invest in those life-giving relationships. It is important to take control over our use of technology. We must use it and its efficient nature to improve our lives and give us more time to set aside for intentional relationships. We must not become distracted, letting technology usher more harm than good into our lives. This is exactly what healthy intentionality looks like, in both our use of technology and relationships with others.