Technology can sometimes be considered a time machine. The car allowed us to travel in an hour what would have taken a day. Then the plane
allowed us to travel in a day what would have taken days or even weeks. Email allows us to send a letter in seconds to a location that could have taken days or weeks. A computer can calculate things in seconds what would take most people much more time. Technology has continually given us more time.
Why then do we seem to have less time as technology progresses? Because we are so quick to fill that time with something else. We have developed a disease in our culture that convinces us that having any sort of margin time in our life is unhealthy or unproductive.
But life without any margin time is like the paragraph above. If you put enough effort into it, you can read that paragraph but it takes more energy than it should. We all have a maximum level of capacity. That level varies by person but not a person exists without their own max level. We all have a current load level too, the amount of energy we expend doing what ever it is we do. The margin formula is
your max capacity – your current load = your margin.
We have convinced ourselves that if we allow too much margin into our lives, we are somehow not productive or slacking off. Jesus addressed this very issue in Luke. When he came to visit the home of two sisters, Martha and Mary, there was a distinct different view of margin time with these two women. Mary understood the value of pausing to just be with her Lord, while Martha was convinced that she must spend every second serving her Lord. Notice that what Martha was doing was not a bad thing, it is great to be focused on serving Him. But Luke says that “Martha was distracted with much serving” (Luke 10:40).
Jesus spoke much of the subject actually.
- Don’t store up treasures on earth
- Don’t be anxious
- Be the salt and light
Anger, lust, retaliation, greed, etc… these are all the result of a weak soul in need of time with Him. The more we squeeze our time, filling it with so much (even good things), the less time our soul has to re-energize and connect with him.
Don’t get me wrong, technology itself is not bad or evil, just like money itself is not bad or evil. But it is not the item itself that is the problem, it is the priority that item takes in our life. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.” (1 Tim 6:10)
Our love of technology, our desire to squeeze every ounce of productivity out of our day, our fear of being seen as a sluggard if we have too much free time… these things lead us to a live void of Him.
My lecture on this subject this week ended with the professor praying for the class saying “Lord I pray these students get a C in this class as long as they get an A in family.” That is a prayer that recognizes the value of margin on the family AND sees the priority of family over so many other things we allow to occupy our time.