Gratitude Day 573

Matthew 13:22 – (Jesus said) “The seed sown among weeds represents the person who receives the message, but all of life’s busy distractions, his divided heart, and his ambition for wealth result in suffocating the kingdom message and prevent him from bearing spiritual fruit.

Until this very day, Hubby Rick owns a flip phone. And he is enormously proud of it.

He doesn’t want a smart phone. (He says if he needs one, he has a wife with one!) In fact, he goes out of his way to maintain a flip phone.

While on vacation a few years ago, Rick’s trusty flip phone died. Truth be known, it was MY old flip phone that he resorted to after his similar phone had died. We went to the cell phone company the day after we returned home from vacation to replace his phone. When the salesperson asked how he could help us, Rick whipped his/my old cell phone out of his pocket and said he wanted a phone just like “this one.”

The sales rep was not dismayed. He could get Rick set up with a new smart phone for a penny! One penny! It wasn’t a top-of-the-line smart phone, but he could do so much more with this smart phone. Rick repeated his line about not needing a smart phone because his wife has one. He remained steadfast in his desire for a flip phone.

It took a little awhile and quite a bit of digging. But eventually, a flip phone was found in the store. It would cost about $100. Did Rick still want the flip phone? Why not try the penny smart phone?

Rick walked out with the flip phone. And still has it three years later.

Cell phones are quite amazing. There is way more technology in my smart phone than there was in Apollo 11, the first U.S. spaceship that landed on the moon with a person. Cell phones pack a lot of punch these days. I can communicate with most anyone in a few seconds. I can look up some random answer to a question that Hubby Rick poses me. I can find out what time someplace opens and closes as well how long it will take for me to get there. The list goes on and on and on.

While we may think they save us time, here’s what often happens: I pick up my cell phone to QUICKLY look up something. Twenty minutes later? I’m still spending/wasting time on it.

Maybe I’m the only one that this happens to.

Around the first of the year, I moved some things around on my phone. I moved some apps off of the home screen, so they weren’t as assessable. Now, I have to swipe through a few screens to get there. I also removed some apps that I felt were sucking up too much of my time.  

Try as I might, too often, I begin most days on my phone before most everything else. I really don’t want this to happen, but too often it does. And soon, 20 or 30 minutes have gone by, minutes I can’t recoup. And for what?

For Christians, Sunday is a day of Sabbath. It’s a day for us to slow down. Breathe. Get off of our regular rhythm and recharge our souls. If there has been one silver lining about the pandemic, I believe we have more opportunities to reclaim some Sabbath on Sunday because there aren’t as many other options.

Yet, our phones can suck the Sabbath right out of us.

Here’s my Lenten challenge for you today. Take your phone. Figuratively, lock it up for a pre-determined amount of time. Live your life without it for a while. You choose how long. I suggest a minimum of an hour. If you really want to take this challenge on? Make it several hours.

I know. We think we will miss something important. For most requests, we can simply get back to the person after we’ve completed our non-phone Sabbath. Facebook and Instagram and e-mail will still be there. Yep, even text messages do not have to be immediately answered. If someone REALLY needs to get ahold of you, they will find a way.

Or it can wait.

I find myself way too tied to my phone. I allow myself letting the phone dictate too much of my day. If I want something different, I’m the one that has to choose to put my phone in time-out and take a break.

There are so many times when we observe people together … and everyone is on their phone, rather than having conversations and interactions with each other. Yep, I’m guilty as well. When I’ve requested that people put their phones away for a period of time, it’s not always been welcomed. The backlash has been real.

Cell phones are like every other item we own. They can be great, helpful and a time-saver. They can also be a challenge, draw us away from what’s really most important and keep us buried in things that may or may not be helpful.

I’ve spent a fair bit of time with families after the loss of a loved one. And with people who know their earthly lives are coming to an end. Never once has someone said to me, “Gosh, I wished that I had spent more time on my cell phone.”

Nope. What people wish is they would have had more meaningful conversations with their loved one. Taken time for seemingly unimportant events but in the presence of the people they love the most. No one has ever told me that they wished their loved one had made more money, owned a bigger house or had a fancier cell phone. Never once.

I encourage you to join with me on this Sabbath day, set our cell phones aside (smart or flip) for a period of time and enjoy the day. Fill it with things that are deeply important and meaningful. Everything else will still be there after your phone’s timeout. Maybe your day will feel a bit saner as well.

For the hope of a day of meaningful Sabbath, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Dear God – Please forgive me for the many, many times I have chosen to spend time on my phone rather than being in Your presence. Forgive me for the countless excuses I have made about not having enough time for You … but find plenty of time to be on social media. May I choose to spend some Sabbath time with You today, undeterred by a clamoring phone. Amen.

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