I keep an album of cartoons in my iPad. One of my favorites is a man coming before St. Peter, hoping to enter heaven. St. Peter looks the man’s record up in a book and says, “Actually, you had a pretty great life, but you were looking down at your phone and you missed it.”
Taking time to meditate is not in the spirit of our age. If you’ve ever tried to sit for a time, devices off, doing nothing, you may have found it very challenging. When Diane and I went to visit Katie and her family last month, I was worn down by work and decided the week would be vacation, no emails from the Seminary, sleep as long as I wanted, disconnect. Easier said than done, but I did it. Well, pretty much did it. We get addicted to our digital distractions.
An article in the Wall Street Journal was helpful. Bradley Staats tells the story of Thomas J. Watson Sr., the man who built IBM into a global powerhouse. Mr. Watson got frustrated when good ideas were not being suggested in a meeting. He complained, “The trouble with every one of us is that we don’t think enough. Knowledge is the result of thought, and thought is the keynote of success in this business or any business” (WSJ, July 7-8; C3). That was the same sentiment that Dr. Oswald Hoffmann, my predecessor on The Lutheran Hour, once told me. Dr. Hoffmann said, “You have to take time to think.”
Meditation is time to think. God instituted the Sabbath so that His people would disconnect from work and I’ll add, disconnect from devices to think, to think about ourselves as His beloved redeemed creatures. Elijah heard God speak “in a low whisper” (1 Kings 19:12). You can be sure Elijah had his ear buds out! Take time to think this weekend.
About that cartoon, it was distributed in 2015 by UniversalUclick for UFS, but I can’t decipher the name of the cartoonist.