May 14, 2012
Put that down!
If you’re reading this Point of View on your SmartPhone, while driving, you should wait until you’ve come to a complete stop. Any use of any remote device while driving has just raised your odds of calamity by a 4x factor. You may be willing to take that risk… but have you asked the soccer mom driving next to you, with her car pool kiddos in the back?
Medical research has confirmed what’s called the “cocktail party effect;” it’s your brain’s ability to zero-in on just one voice while tuning-out the blaring background. Their findings have determined that 2.5% of the populace is capable of what we’ve dubbed “multi-tasking;” the rest of us are subject to diminished capacity when we try to portray commitment while distracted.
That’s a fact of life in the constant immediacy of life; it is equally important to consider when you ask – and, answer – the ultimate life challenge: who, exactly, are you?
Identity is no small issue. For some, it’s found in their gender. Others find their best answer in their ethnicity or mother-tongue. Every four years, many put their default answer aside and adopt a partisan profile. Some friends are forever stuck in their youth and claim their alma mater’s banner. Some women leave their family badge on everywhere they roam; many men never remove their workplace uniform, with their earned rank as their mirror image.
I live to help Christians discover – or, reclaim – the DNA that has eternal significance. I take my lead from the Apostle Paul, who described it this way: “…Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” (Philippians 3:12-17)
There’s no comfortable inactivity surrounding that segment: Paul’s urgency is in full view. He’s clearly in process… and he is far from satisfied with his own progress. Yet, he is so bold as to link his posture – the primary emphasis of “…one thing I do” – to a level of maturity that he desired for his readers. If they disagreed, it was because they lacked his insight… but God would bring them along in time.
His boldness was not arrogance when he challenged the Philippians to “… join with others in following my example, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.”
Our generation has come to believe that technology has given us the ability to spread our IQ crumbs across multiple initiatives with no loss in the weight of our contribution. Not so; the research has concluded that focused presence is necessary for full engagement…
So, what “…wins the prize” that Paul idealized? The bulk of his writings – 13 of the NT books; 14 if you give him credit for Hebrews – established the primacy of his Kingdom Calling at his greatest designation. He set aside his ethnic, institutional religious and professional marketplace nametags and called them “losers” (Philippians 3:7-8) in a face-to-face comparison.
Pull up that chapter of Scripture; let me ask an intrusive question: would you be able to write Paul’s words, directed toward less-mature believers, based on your discovery of your calling? Or, would you be the one Paul is writing to, encouraging you to make that discovery your next spiritual goal?
Here to help you along,