The Need to Unplug (Newspaper 5-28-16)

My wife and I just took a trip back to my home town for a week long vacation, and it was wonderful.  We got to see some people that we had not seen in over a year, as well as just unplug from technology and relax for the week.  I want to start off saying that we, as human beings, were made to live in community with one another.  We are meant to share life together, and one of the best ways of sharing life together is through being a part of a local church congregation.  Getting to walk through life with others that believe in Jesus like you do is one of the best things about Christianity.  We were never meant to do this thing called life on our own, and if you’re a believer but are not involved with other Christians regularly in some way, then you are missing out on something critical.  Believe me when I say that this is one of the many reasons I love being in ministry, getting to spend time weekly with fellow Christ followers, even when we do not all see eye-to-eye on everything.

I write all of that above, however, to write this.  There are times in life when it is necessary to unplug, and spend some time in solitude.  This is something that I knew, in my mind at least, but that became a reality while we were on vacation.  During this trip, while we spent time with friends and family in Tennessee, I did something that I had never really done before.  I unplugged from my phone, tablet, e-mail, social media, and just tried to refocus, recalibrate, and refresh.  That doesn’t mean that I left my phone and tablet completely, or that I didn’t spend some time on social media sites while we were gone.  I checked in from time to time, it just means that I was not constantly trying to connect with just anyone and everyone like I normally do.  In fact, I had close to 500 e-mails to filter through when I got back to the office last week.  We are so inundated with technology and information in todays world that we seem to become addicted to it.  At least I know I was getting there.  And again, while we were built to be in community, we were also built to unplug from time to time.

Jesus Himself even modeled that for us during His time on this earth.  There are numerous passages in the gospels that show us that He regularly left the crowds, and even at times His disciples and went to a mountainside alone to pray.  In other words, He unplugged regularly.  Again, there are numerous passages, but I picked out a few to show you here.  Mark 6:45-46 states, “45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.”  In Luke 6:12, which takes place at an earlier time in His ministry, Jesus again goes to the mountain alone.  It records it this way; “12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”  I will not quote it here, but on the night He was arrested, Jesus spent time alone praying as well.  If Jesus found the need to unplug, and spend some time alone with God, what makes us think that we do not?  Community is a great thing, but we all need to unplug for a short period from time to time.

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