Everyone’s Talking

(Kent Heaton)

 Never before in the history of man has the ability to communicate been as integral a part of society than now. Cell phones have opened up the air ways with endless hours of conversation all over the world. Rarely can you find someone that does not have a cell phone to their ear. Young and old, in the automobile, shopping, at the beach, in restaurants, jogging, at dinner tables the nonstop verbiage flow unabated. Texting is a societal norm almost required for relationships. Facebook, Twitter, Skype, YouTube and a host of methods are employed to keep in contact with updates, news, notes and “hello how are you doing” with unceasing control over our time and relationships.

 Everyone is talking so why are we not a closer people? The lack of communication has always been at the root of relationship problems, lack of knowledge and confusion. Yet with all the talking going on the conversations do not draw us closer but farther apart. Signs are placed in windows and counters telling people to not talk on cell phones while doing business. ‘Reception rage’ happens when we lose our signal or cannot call with our cell phone. All this talking seems to be driving us mad.

 It has been said the reason God gave us two ears and one mouth is so that we can listen more than we talk. James writes, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20). A rabbinical adage says, “Talk little and work much.” Albert Barnes noted on James 1:19, “The ancients have some sayings on this subject which are well worthy of our attention. ‘Men have two ears, and but one tongue, that they should hear more than they speak.’ ‘The ears are always open, ever ready to receive instruction; but the tongue is surrounded with a double row of teeth, to hedge it in, and to keep it within proper bounds.”

 Paul described the process of faith as “hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). This involves time to listen, meditate and contemplate the mind of God. If we talked with God through prayer and supplication as much as we spent time on the cell phone and Facebook postings our lives would be filled with the Lord on every hand. We have become people as described by Paul quoting the prophet Isaiah: “Go to this people and say: ‘Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you will see, and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them’” (Acts 28:26-27).

 Everyone is talking but few are listening. Everyone is glued to their cell phones with every app imaginable to fill their days with technological futility and waste. “This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (James 3:15-17). Wisdom from above comes from “all scripture” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). “Give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine … Meditate on these things” (See 1 Timothy 4:13-16).

Kent Heaton, via Bible Matters, Nov. 22, 2010

 Editor’s note: Brother Heaton makes some great points as we see how the latest and greatest “gadgets” sometimes get in the way of our “people skills” and our need to remember the basics that NEVER change when it comes to teaching others (cf. 2 Tim. 4:2, 2:2).  With all the technological advances out there, you will NOT convert anyone until you take the time to open your Bibles and study with them face to face.  Everything is just tools to introduce and enhance your opportunities to teach.  After all, in New Testament times God didn’t even use the Holy Spirit to miraculously convert anyone.  He always called on someone to go and TELL the message.  Let’s not let “the latest and greatest” gadgets cloud that fact.

            But having said that, this article made me think of something.  We are reading so much about technology today and the concerns that many, including myself, have with its abuse or negligence.  I have reproduced more than one article on the dangers of the internet and facebook, etc.  And I will continue to do so because it is a relevant subject that needs to be addressed often.  But before we condemn technology, realize that it is a two-edged sword that can be used for as much good or it is used for evil.  We need to understand that technology is a good thing.   Before you balk at that statement.  Notice that you are reading a bulletin copied on a copier and produced on a computer with electricity that is piped into our houses and into the church building with little thought (except when we see the bill).  You drove here in a car that can go more than 60 miles an hour with relative safety.  We can assemble at night and see with a  simple flick of the light switch.  Our lessons are recorded by way of a sound system that is connected to a computer.  The lessons can be published on our website and broadcast to people all over the world or you can receive them via cassette or cd.  Because of this technology a sermon is not confined to the building.  In addition to this, when we get a little cold we turn on the heater and when we get hot (or shall I say warm) we turn on the air conditioner.  We communicate on telephones all over the world. 

   In your life at home, you go to the grocery store and find whatever you want, often prepared and/or preserved so that it will last and can be prepared with more technology such as an electric or gas stove, a refrigerator that keeps food cool.  I could go on and on  about what we enjoy and what has been made simpler and better because of technology.

    What is my point?  We are quick to criticize technology when it is not what we want, but the truth is there is NOTHING wrong with technology and advancements.      Some want to halt technology when it advances beyond what they perceive to be the acceptable standard.  Such is not fair and it can prohibit some very good and profitable things, like the many mentioned in this note thus far. They are a blessing for which we ought to be thankful (1 Thess. 5:18). 

    But having said that, as with all things, we need to use the latest and greatest gadgets and technology with wisdom.  It should not take away from or replace your personal responsibilities.  Nor should it put you in undue debt or become a god in your life.

     Having said all this, no matter what we are blessed with in life, be thankful and use it to God’s glory.  It’s not what we have, but how we use it.  It’s all about how we manage out time and our priorities.   Think about it. Maybe I’ll post this on Facebook.  TATJR