Last week I reminded you that tools don’t make you wise, but the wise do make tools. One of the tools that has recently been fashioned, and which virtually all of you use, is the smart phone. A central task that lies in front of you is therefore figuring out the relationship of that phone in your pocket and your responsibilities as a disciple of the Lord Jesus.
There are two easy responses to this kind of thing, responses that take virtually no thought at all. The one is that of enthusiastic adoption, no reflection, and the other is the response of a simple bigoted rejection—not in my house. “We will continue to use the old rotary landline phones, the kind the apostles had.” The common element is the missing aspect of thoughtful reflection.
Your smart phone, together with all of the apps, is a store house of wealth. The Scriptures do not talk about high tech phones, but the Scripture do talk about wealth, and they address the subject quite a bit. Put it in the category of wealth, and the Bible tells you exactly how to think about it. Your phone is a tool that has been given to you, and it was given to you in order to increase your dependency upon God (Dt. 8:7-14), your love for your neighbor (1 Tim. 6:17-18), and your usefulness to your generation (Acts 13:36). As A.W. Tozer once put it, unless you have been useful to your generation, you have no business dying.
It is true that some people retreat into the cocoon created by their phone, but this is nothing new. Selfish people have always had the means of retreating from other people. Can you not retreat into a newspaper, a book, or a bedroom? And it is also true that some people have figured out wonderful ways to love their neighbors with their phones—an encouraging text, a calendar reminder, and so on. These are the people who used to send encouraging scrolls. And so here is the exhortation—be that guy.