Thursday, April 11, 2013

Don't Mess with "Text-Us"

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Ex 3:5
Texas has some tough laws. Some may even consider them unreasonable. Why, just think of the drastic steps that have been taken to protect children. Of all things! For example, cell phone use – of any kind – is prohibited in local Texas school zones. A driver can be fined up to $200, not just for texting, but even just for talking, while passing through these areas. Can you believe that? Don’t the police and the courts understand how urgent that message to a friend may be? It could involve sports … or shopping … or even dinner plans!
You know I’m speaking facetiously. Children are worth more than all the text messages in the world. No one would knowingly maim or kill an innocent boy or girl for the sake of a phone call or text. Those who have been responsible for such tragedies are overwhelmed with guilt and regret. If they only had it to do over again, they would not do it at all.
Though people supposedly have common sense, laws are still necessary. Why? People think that they won’t cause an accident, because they are smart, safe, and careful. So tough Texas laws protect everyone, threatening “only” a $200 fine, in an effort to prevent the greater cost of a child’s life.
Here’s a shocker. Survey results released in April, 2013, indicate that more adults are texting while driving than teenagers. Nearly half of all adults surveyed by AT&T say that they're using their smartphones to send text messages or check their emails while they're behind the wheel of a car, even though almost all of them agree that the practice is unsafe. By comparison, about 43 percent of teenagers cited in an earlier USA Today survey admitted that they text and drive. And as National Safety Council representative John Ulczycki pointed out to the newspaper, "[You're] looking at around 10 million teen drivers, but about 180 million other adult drivers." Source:
There are also rules about cell phone use at many local movie theaters, though much less is at stake than a human life. Our family saw a movie a couple of weeks ago. Among the announcements about popcorn and restrooms, there was a dire public warning and prohibition against cell phone use during the film. If you had an emergency message, you had to step out of the theater so as not to distract other patrons. If you insisted on talking or texting inside the theater, with the movie playing, officials would identify you and evict you! Why? People think that their message is so important that, even if it does distract others, it’s worth it.
On a recent flight from Dallas to Nashville, I was seated next to a young, sharp executive who worked with Bausch and Lomb, the optical company. Believe it or not, after hearing repeated instructions to disable all cell phones for take-off, he carefully hid his phone from the attendant with his neck, shoulder, and hand. He kept on talking in a low voice. He apparently decided that his business call was more important than any possible interference with the airplane’s microwave-based take-off equipment.
So cell phones can distract drivers, movie-goers, and airline passengers. What about Christians who are determined to seek things above and worship God without distraction? I’m not referring to those cool apps that let people read the Bible on their phones. I’m asking about the temptation to text, tweet, or check Facebook while trying to connect with a holy God.
If people won’t mess with Texas, because they don’t want to pay a $200 fine, why would Christians mess with God? If a cell phone keeps me from drawing close to God, what does it cost me? What does it cost others around me who are also distracted? Is it worth it?
If God is jealous, and He will not tolerate other things that rival Him for my attention, what does he think about cell phones in worship?
The Lord told Moses at the burning bush to remove his sandals, because His presence made that ground holy. What might He have said if Moses had pulled out a cell phone to retrieve a text from someone else, or to send one?
I’m not going to let my phone distract me or anyone else from drawing near to God. It’s just not worth what it costs. Help me, Lord, to seek and to serve You with all my heart!