I don't own a cell phone, so perhaps I have a perspective that others don't. Sitting at lunch with other people, even if we are in the middle of a conversation, if the phone buzzes they stop talking to answer it. If there is even a half-second lull in the conversation, they turn to it. The phones are part of cutlery now. When sitting down, they take out the phone and lay it in place next to their lunch plate, napkin, fork, knife. While talking, their eyes don't meet other peoples' but glance down at the phone every few seconds. The phone distracts even if they are not talking on it that moment. I quit talking at lunch because I know I don't have their attention anyway, and I stopped listening because I know they will stop talking to me even if I do listen to them- to answer the phone. Eventually I stopped socializing at lunch altogether because of the phone issues (among others). In a room with six other people, at one point all five were on the phone. I was completely invisible.
Even talking one-on-one to a person means 50% of the time they will turn away from our conversation to do something on the phone.
"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:24-25)
"For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:20)
I know phones are important devices these days, especially for parents to keep in touch with kids, especially if there is an emergency. I am no Luddite. I know that sometimes people are waiting for an important doctor return call. Or for a check-in from the teenager. Or for results of a job interview.
But consider, my fellow brethren, the verses above. When we meet with others who are in Christ; at work, at the playground, at church, for a meal ... we are meeting with a purpose. Every time we gather with others it is for a biblical purpose: to build each other up. We have an opportunity to encourage each other. There is nothing more encouraging than to look into someone's eyes as they talk with you and they know that you are devoting your full attention to them, even if it is for one minute, or five minutes or half an hour over a lunch. It's the way we connect through Christ.
So as for the second verse, when we neglect someone, or dismiss them while they are standing right in front of us in favor of chatting or texting on the phone with a "better" person, we are actually neglecting Christ. Please ponder that as you watch this good little video about how we make our loves ones (Christ) invisible.
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