Apps are the superhighway of choice for communications that matter.
Are Apps and our appetites shaping us more than we are shaping our culture?
Try calculating the hours you spend each day and week in tweets, Facebook, gaming and the myriad of other social media and you will likely to be shocked. The top spheres of influence that shape our lives and culture today according to the Barna Research Group are: movies, music, social media, television, internet, books and gaming. Somewhere in the distance is the next tier down: peers, family, schools, service organizations, radio, business, news sources and religion. The serious unwelcome questions are: have we become more influenced by our culture than we are a positive influence in our culture? Are we being molded and shaped by the constant and instant flow of “entertainment” or do we choose to take ownership of molding and shaping the course of events?
Are we becoming a culture of mesmerized creatures whose worldview is being shaped more by our apps and appetites rather than by knowledge and relationships that shape and forge a future with Hope. The subtle gradualism of all the apps and entertainment filler can be a thief that displaces creativity, productivity and a sense of meaning and purpose in fulfilled relationships and potential. The product of this malaise is increasingly reflected in diminishing returns in: school test scores, work ethic, personal discipline, addictions, dysfunctional social skills and a growing sense of hopelessness and uncertainty.
To live is to choose. We can easily choose the road most traveled as the popular peer reinforced path to possibly our own peril. The haunting question: is it better to be ruled by our own appetites or to be led by a sense of mission and purpose where we take ownership for our future? That means that we may be better served in learning to say no more often in order to say yes to what really matters most.
When all is said and done, what will matter most is prompted by the question we need to ask every time we turn on an electronic gadget. Is this a “filler” that keeps me from asking the tough questions I need to be asking in order to grow and learn more of what it means to develop my God-given potential. Would I really know how to act if I turned off the gadgets and engaged in reading a good book, initiated a serious conversation with a trusted friend, wrote down my thoughts and goals and shared them with a family member, serve some at-risk person in my community, enrolled in a course of study that could enrich my life and others? If that app is my first choice it could bring balance to serve me best in the measured use of technology in combination with good theology knowing God made us and not we ourselves and that His intentions for us is in realizing our full potential which will take us far beyond filler apps to purpose in our living and giving.
What will matter in the end is not how many movies or TV programs we have seen, how many tweets, Facebook posts we have received or sent, how many games we have mastered or what kind of car or house we owned, how many exploits we have done, how many trophies, plaques and ribbons we have won. What will matter most is the lives we have touched and given meaning and purpose that will go on when our journey here comes to an end. Ask not what someone or something can do to make your day, ask what can I do to make someone else’s day. We then can offer an app map for a journey to be all God intended us to be. Don’t let all the app traps rob you of the joy of giving yourself to relationships that matter in service to others. You will discover a new freedom and peace in realizing your God-given potential as you help others do the same.
The dilemma is that it is our nature to love things and use people when our designed purpose is to love people and properly use things—our command performance at best. We get carried away in this “Kingdom of Thingsdumb” app choice of our day. Whenever we settle for less than our designed purpose we rob God, ourselves and others of the best. The good and legitimate things become the thief robbing us of God’s best. That is the subtle off the map app rat trap.
To invest in people is to give the gift that goes on and on to forge a future with Hope, to bring healing and hope to the hopeless and to restore the broken people starting today in our sphere of influence. We can be the difference to shape culture and bloom where God has strategically planted us in our neighborhood, marketplace and place of service. We can bloom where we are planted—that is what matters. This may be your missing app for year round “gardening.” You can produce a harvest of renewed Hope. The greatest waste of time may be in the waste of time getting started. Take your hoe in hand and weed out the good and legitimate so that God’s best can be yours both now and forever.