According to a recent Microsoft survey, 77% of adults say the first thing they reach for when feeling discouraged or depressed is their smart phone. We are starving for connection, community, and compassion.
Connectivity is not the same as community. We are overconnected today, creating weak ties. Weak ties would be considered internet community or our social family. This has resulted in underdeveloped strong ties. Strong ties would include our physical family members and friends living and active in our tangible world. The more time we spend connecting the weak ties, the less time we spend connecting with our strong ties.
Bill Gates calls busy the new stupid. The Bible puts it like this in Proverbs 4:26: “Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.” Are you giving thought to your ways? How do we live with more compassion and thoughtfulness at the slow, easy pace of Jesus? How can we create space to walk at His pace?
Insight lies in the original question. What if Martin Luther King, Jr. had a smart phone?
64 years ago, almost to the week, Dr. King had a life altering experience with this very idea. Dr. King had been arrested and jailed for supposedly driving 30 mph in a 25 mph zone, received multiple anonymous life threatening phone calls and anxiety and fear was mounting with in him. He wanted to give up. David Garrow, Dr. King’s biographer recalls a sermon given a decade later at the Mount Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church in which Dr. King gives details of this quiet, yet pivotal event:
“And I bowed down over that cup of coffee. I never will forget it…I prayed a prayer, and I prayed out loud that night. I said, “Lord, I’m down here trying to do what’s right…But Lord, I must confess that I’m weak now. I’m faltering. I’m losing my courage.”
“And it seemed at that moment that I could hear an inner voice saying to me, ‘Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And lo I will be with you, even until the end of the world.’”
The rest of the story is history and we are all better for it. But what if, MLK, Jr. had instead posted a Facebook “request for prayer” or an Insta story of his cup of coffee? What if he would have grabbed his phone and tweeted out the words he instead said aloud to the Lord? Where would our nation be, our world? We have eliminated those quiet, obscure, yet life-altering moments from our life. Our culture has yet to see the radical consequences of this. Opposite of a contemplative life is a reactive life. As you tap into the deep stillness of God, you tap into the compassion of God. It’s hard to be reactive after entering silence and solitude. We don’t retreat from the world but we retreat FOR the world. It’s the place of conversion to encounter God and process in the safety of God’s love and then come back into the world to interact spiritually and emotionally with human beings. Jesus shows us that you have to go to the silence and solitude before you can walk in compassion, connect with people at a heart level and live in community.
Let’s learn from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s quiet resolve and abandon the Smart Phone in times of dismay and discouragement, anxiety and depression.
Start where you are, not where you want to be. Today, January 20, 2020, before we reach for our smart phones, sit before God, anchor your mind on Him. Maybe light a candle, recite a psalm, say a prayer, sing a song, cry out to Him, or just be quiet and receive. The world might just become a better place for it.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
—Strength to Love, 1963
About the Author
Brooke is a busy mom of 4, toddler to teen. She was a public school teacher with a masters in education but traded the classroom for the laundry room and spends her days writing, studying, and homeschooling. She is a student at Dallas Theological Seminary completing a masters in Biblical and Theological Studies, Spring 2020. She has written three bible studies, speaks several times each semester and lives on mission to encourage and equip women with God’s Word in the areas of spiritual formation.