My work with Cooke Pictures takes me to many different countries and cultures every year. This summer I have been in six – 3 continents in 3 months. Recently, I was able to visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Japan. I read about it on online and took two subways and followed directions on an app using Google maps. I used a language app to help me communicate and a currency app to figure out the ticket price. Technology has made life easier, given us access to information, and the ability to navigate the world as never before.
As I toured the museum and read the history and culture of Tokyo it struck me how tightly connected the people were to each other in the past. They weren’t connected to the entire world as we are today, but they were connected and accessible to each other in ways we rarely experience. Technology has transformed the world in just a few hundred years. As we left Tokyo on the train to the airport we had a conversation with a retired businessman who was now making the transition to live in a small community outside Tokyo. He had done business in Asia for many years and decided the quiet life of a village community was more to his liking than the constant noise and complications of living in a global city. He found people cared for each other more in the villages.
How much have we exchanged “being connected” for actual relationship? Is having 300 social media followers the same thing as having real friends?
Technology has given us the ability to connect but it’s also given us the ability to build walls. We think technology is about making life better, and giving us more time with each other. After all, the more accessibility, the more connection, right? As believers of Jesus and followers of the Word of God, the Bible instructs us to actually care. To be there. The story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25–37 is a poignant story of how we are to treat those in need. Jesus answered a question about gaining eternal life from a well educated religious leader. It’s interesting that Jesus told him a story about caring for those we don’t know. In our culture of shallow connection and accessibility, we can see that Jesus talked about really connecting to people we don’t even know, and have no relationship with – and tells us this is the actual secret to eternal life. It’s almost as if Jesus was telling us that real influence starts when you observe, pay attention, and stop. It starts when you put down your iPhone, iPad, or computer, and take out your ear buds. It’s actually helping a person in need rather then posting a picture of him on Instagram. It’s taking the time to actually go see someone. I know, I know… you can’t get your work done if you are constantly being interrupted. Well, maybe every once in a while the inconvenience of caring could turn a situation around – save someone’s life and bring happiness to a friend in need.
Our culture needs people who care, people who pray, and people unafraid to tell those around them of the One who came to give His life that they might have a more abundant life. The truth is, it’s the promise of the ultimate connection.
The question is: How accessible are you to make the connections that are eternal?