Not too long ago my family and I were eating at a local restaurant known for its home style southern cuisine and quaint family atmosphere. As we were leaving, I couldn’t help but notice a family sitting together, and each one of them — Dad, Mom, big brother, and little sister — was engaged in a conversation with someone else, somewhere else in a galaxy far, far away. With shoulders hunched down and their eyes staring lifelessly into their electronic mobile devices, their frantic fingers typed away as their carefully placed emoticons (electronic emotional images, such as smiley faces, sad faces, etc.) presumably took their appropriate places as emotional substitutes for their dispassionate, electronically glowing faces.
As a constant observer of my sociocultural surroundings I had to somehow capture this sad twenty-first century familial phenomenon. I immediately took out my handy iPhone and took a digital picture. Yes, it is indeed a brave new world in which we live — look how far we’ve come.
For better or worse I’m a bit old-fashioned, and I have a tendency to resist the new, the improved, the trendy, and whatever is deemed a product of supposed progress. However, ever since I became a Christian I have had an overwhelming conviction that I should make the most of my time and seize every minute of every day to accomplish whatever is worthy for God’s glory, using any appropriate new media or technology wisely and carefully, just as the apostle Paul instructs us: Redeem the time because the days are evil (Eph. 5:16). Similarly, Jonathan Edwards resolved “never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can” (fifth resolution). For this reason, we should not shy away from whatever comes at us in this brave new world, however fast it might come. Rather, we should live each day in light of eternity, before the face of God who not only condones but commands the right use of all right things as long as they are all used for the edification of His people, for the worldwide mission of Christ’s church, and for the proclamation of God’s unchanging Word, which was superintended by the Holy Spirit and written with pen and parchment, and is now readily available to the entire world, by God’s sovereign plan all for His glory.
Dr. Burk Parsons is editor of Tabletalk magazine and serves as senior pastor of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Fla. He is editor of Assured by God: Living in the Fullness of God’s Grace. He is on Twitter at @BurkParsons.