Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Blessings Missed

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20 NIV)

My wife and I were walking around a nearby lake, a popular spot for both tourists and locals, when we saw this huge turtle going for a late afternoon swim.  As we were watching it and marveling at its size, a mother and teenage daughter walked by.  The mother, seeing us staring at something, turned to see what we were looking at.  “Is that a turtle?” she asked.  We confirmed her suspicions.  Then she turned to her daughter, “Look at that turtle!”  The girl didn’t say anything, but continued to walk and to stare at her phone.  The mother tried again, “Did you see the turtle?”  The girl, annoyed by her mother’s insistence, continued to stare at her phone and explained, “I’m trying to send a text, and, no, I didn’t see the turtle.”  As they continued to follow the trail out of our sight, the girl never took her eyes away from her phone.

Some would say this is a modern-day phenomenon and a sign of the times, but people for a very long time have found it alluring to focus on things other than God’s creation.  The phone and computer screens are only the latest distractions.  Before that there were (and still are) television, radio, record players, newspapers, movies, books, games, etc. that have captivated our attention to the exclusion of what God has created.  It seems our bent to be easily distracted by that created by humans and drawn away from that created by God.  

Many years ago, I remember meeting some young men at a youth ranch in southeastern Kansas.  They were from big East Coast cities and when I asked them what they thought of Kansas, they told me the dark and the silence of the prairie had frightened them initially.  All their lives, they had lived amidst artificial noise and light, never traveling beyond the confines of the city.  The countryside was a foreign and uncomfortable place for them until they grew accustomed to it.  But then, they told me, they grew to enjoy it and embrace it as a place to more clearly see the awesomeness of God.

I live in a beautiful place that is a destination for many to experience the grandness of the forests and the mountains, and to breathe in the cool, fresh mountain air.  But even so, I find I have to be intentional to break free from the distractions of the screens to take in what is around me, which, importantly, doesn’t just include the mountains, but also the people who the Lord also created.  The allure of my devices created by humans is always seeking to divert my attention away from all He has created.  

Today, consider how much attention you devote to your screens or other human-made things that allure you away from that which the Lord has created for you to enjoy.  If He made them for your pleasure, then you are missing out on some wonderful blessings if you allow yourself to be allured away by other things.

© Jim Musser 2016

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