Help! My Toys are Devouring Me!

I had been trying all week to transfer my email from my Outlook Express program to Mozilla Thunderbird, with absolutely no success. In utmost frustration, I finally broke down. I gave in and purchased a new toy that would do this "impossible" task for me. So what if I am $40 dollars poorer. At least I won't be frustrated by this any longer!

There. It worked. All files transferred! But things still didn't look quite right. All of my Outlook subfolders had been transferred as regular folders! That wouldn't do at all! So I spent another hour at it, and in the end, my new Mozilla Thunderbird email organizer looked just like my old Outlook Express. Now if I could only find a way to make all emails received from one account go directly into a specified folder, and all emails received from another account go to another . . . You guess it, I was able to figure it out, but to the tune of another hour of work in front of the computer.

That was when I realized that my toys were devouring me. Or to be more specific, they were devouring my time; time that could have well spent with my family, time that could have been spent with friends. And what did I have to show for it? A new email provider? But wasn't this what I wanted, what I had worked so hard to achieve? Then why the knot in the middle of my stomach? Why the sense of dissatisfaction?

We live in an age where gadgets abound. I can read current newspaper headlines from all over the world with the click of a mouse. When I need a Bible text, a Bible program will effortlessly find it for me. Certain microwaves can connect with the Internet and find out how to cook dinners to perfection. Alarm clocks can regulate our electronic blankets and activate our coffeemakers. Smart sprinklers can check the weather forecast via the Internet and adjust their activity accordingly. Gadgets are everywhere, available for anything to anyone. But do they really make our lives any easier?

I can fly from Toronto to California in 5 hours, but do I have time to cross the street to greet my neighbor? "Sorry, but I have to go to a meeting!" Is my excuse. Or perhaps, "My sons are waiting for me at the sports' arena!"

As computers become faster by the minute, doesn't it seem like we've lost the art of waiting? We make more money, have bigger homes, bigger cars, bigger television sets, but do we have more time? We may have added years to our lives, but in the process, have we depleted the life from our years? I love to talk, but does anyone have the time to really listen? It seems that we have opted for bigger instead of better, noise instead of peace, fastness instead of tranquility. We have more toys, yes; but we also have less time, more problems and fewer friends! We have more information but less knowledge, more choices but less wisdom, more divorces but less love. In a word we are being devoured by our lifestyle!

Is it worth it?

With all the toys surrounding us, do we really even have time to enjoy them? Is it any wonder that we are surrounded by stress? Is it possible we have lost our real purpose in life? We long for peace, but find it unattainable. We find ourselves estranged from our kids, our spouses, even from the One who paid the price for our salvation!

And that's another thing. With the little bit of time that we have left, can we really savor an in-depth relationship with our Maker? Or are we reading the Bible on the go, praying while falling asleep, and attending church while planning our upcoming week? Has our lifestyle even encompassed our relationship with Jesus? Do we even know who Jesus really is? Is it for naught that Jesus said: "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men." (Matt 15:8-9 NIV)?

The writer of Ecclesiastes concluded: "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." (Eccl 3:1 NIV)

But then he wondered: "What does the worker gain from his toil?" (Eccl 3:9 NIV) Especially when we do not even have time for one another and for God!

He wisely realized that though "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." (Eccl 3:11 NIV). How true. But what is the solution?

His conclusion was simple: "I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil-this is the gift of God." (Eccl 3:12-13 NIV)

Is it possible that we have turned the gifts of God into curses by letting our toys dominate us?

Jesus said: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35 NIV); but do we have time for real love?

Jesus said: "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." John 7:37-39 NIV); but do we have time for Jesus and His promises?

Are your toys devouring you???

Think about it!

Rob Chaffart

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