In April 1965, Time Magazine made computers a cover story. It claimed a time is coming that “Will allow man to return to the Hellenic concept of leisure, in which the Greeks had time to cultivate their minds and improve their environment while slaves did all the labor . . . The slaves, in modern Hellenism, would be the computers.” It went on to say that we would only have to work 20-hour weeks, and learn to live a life with more leisure. Yet as we are all experiencing, the computer, internet, and iPhone have actually allowed to us to do more, thus we are expected to do and be more. Technology allows us to work at all times in all places.
Thus, we, not the computers have become the slave, and we fight to find the leisure our lives need. With commuting, work and technology, it is a real challenge to find time to cultivate the things that give us life.
I discovered on my phone that it can tell me how much time I was on it, and where I spent my time. One day, I checked, and I had spent three-and-a-half hours on my phone, checking it for texts, social networking, and work. I was shocked. What did my life look like before my phone? As a pastor, I am involved in peoples’ lives. With technology, I have become accessible at all times unless I turn it off. I can fill all the gaps of my day working on something church-related via phone, iPad, computer and internet. There is always more I can do.
There is a lot of research out there about living a balanced life. A life that includes taking care of ourselves, pursuing our hobbies and interests, resting and taking time off, cultivating our most important relationships, living and giving generously, and having a spiritual life. But somehow, there aren’t enough hours in the day that Time Magazine said we would have.
Jesus said that, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other.” When our lives are out of balance and we aren’t investing time in the things that are healthy and really matter, we begin to live unknowingly in a tension. We don’t really love the life we have to live. What if we said “No,” so that we could say “Yes,” to what we really value? What if our “No,” meant a life change so that we could say “Yes?”
Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest. . . Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart and you will find rest for your souls.” As a follower of Jesus, I am learning to say yes more to the ways of Jesus and no to the demands of the world. In every “no,” I am finding the capacity to say “yes,” and in that “yes,” I am finding life.
The Rev. Peter Foster is pastor of The Gathering at Patterson Covenant Church. Sermon Notes is a column by local religious leaders.