Private and Connected
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves (Philippians 2:3).
Communications technology makes two competing claims. It promises to help one hide from people. At the same time, it promises to instantly connect one with others around the world. In order to get anything done, we need uninterrupted time.
Technology promises to help us organize our time and cut down on distractions with smartphones, voice mail, and scheduling software. In order to get anything done, we also need access to information. We need our questions answered. This stands opposed to our desire for uninterrupted time, yet technology promises help here as well, offering e-mail, instant messaging, and cell phones.
These competing desires for privacy and connectedness have been around for a long time. King Ahasuerus developed a barbaric system to achieve these two goals. When he called someone, he expected an immediate response. When someone came without being called, he reserved the right to kill them.
In Esther chapter one, the king was enraged when Queen Vashti refused to come when called. Chapter four tells us of the danger Queen Esther faced in making an unscheduled visit. In each of these cases, the king displayed an attitude that can tempt us while trying to get organized. It’s an assumption that, “My time is more valuable than yours.”
We need to maintain a balance between helping people with their needs and getting our work done. No matter which we are focused on at any moment, we need to treat people with kindness, honor, and respect.
Jesus models this for us in Mark 1:38. When the disciples interrupt His quiet time, He does not get angry. Instead, He uses the opportunity to invite them into His work, saying, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.”