At first blush, 1 Thessalonians 3:1-2 doesn’t seem like a big deal. Paul chose to stay behind in Athens while Timothy returned to Thessalonica.
Upon further reflection, this is a really big deal.
Paul’s life is in danger. He’s under significant persecution, suffering for the gospel. Despite this incredible pressure, he decides to go it alone for a while, so that Timothy can check up on the Thessalonian church.
If there had been cell phones and the internet, this sacrifice wouldn’t have been necessary. Paul could have picked up the phone and dialed 1-800-ThessalonicaChurch.org and gotten an update.
Has technology made self-sacrifice less common?
I’m tempted to say yes and be done with this question. But that can’t possibly be the whole story.
We are much more “connected” today than when I was born in 1974. As recently as the mid-90s, my parents lost touch with me for a few weeks while I was on the Summer’s Best Two Weeks travel team. I communicated via mail, not email!
Information flow feels infinite. There is much more leisure material available on demand.
Jesus taught in Matthew 19:23-26 that wealth is a barrier to trusting in God.
Technology is just one element of the great wealth I experience everyday.
When Jesus tells his disciples, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible,” I take this as a warning against relying upon my great wealth for fulfillment.
Just as I observed my kids fighting more after getting new toys this past Christmas than beforehand, I tend to get cranky when I feel I’ve missed an opportunity to post to this blog.
The more you have, the more you covet.
Jesus, please save me from my natural tendency toward greed and selfishness.
The solution is giving away more and more. This applies not only to money, but to time and energy and gifts and talents.
Jesus, as I give away more and more of myself, please fill me up with more and more. I want to enter more of what Pastor Vince calls “The God Zone,” a sweet spot of giving and receiving!