David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years.
2 Samuel 5:4 (NIV)
When I was a boy I spent entire class periods in elementary school learning how to use the library. If I was interested in a subject or had a question that needed answering I would have to wait until the day of the week our class would visit the school library. I would look up the subject in a large set of drawers that housed small index cards arranged by the Dewey Decimal System. It gave me a number that corresponded to the numbers on the spines of books arranged on the shelf and from there I could find all the books on the subject that interested me. Then, all I had to do was scour the books on the shelf to find what I was looking for.
By the time I was a teenager, there was a set of Funk & Wagnalls encyclopedias on the bookshelf in our home. My mom acquired the entire set of encyclopedias, volume by volume, over a period of time using S&H “Green Stamps” she got at the Hy-Vee grocery store. What a time saver. Now, if I wanted the answer to a question I could go to our basement family room and look it up in the encyclopedia.
When I was in my twenties I purchased my first computer. It was an IBM PS1 with a 3.5-inch “floppy” disc drive and no internal hard drive. I eventually purchased a 300-megabyte hard drive for just over $300 and installed it myself. With that computer, I got on the internet for the first time through a phone line that dialed up the connection, but anyone trying to call me at home would get an intermittent tone called a “busy signal” telling them that I was using the phone line at the moment.
By the time I was thirty, I was able to access almost any information I wanted on the internet from home. No going to the library. No looking it up in a book. Simply dial into the internet (which by then I could do AND still use the home phone line AT THE SAME TIME! Genius!) and type in what I’m looking for.
On the way to the lake, this past Wednesday night Wendy and I saw a gorgeous rainbow. “Why are rainbows arched?” we mused. Wendy simply picked up her phone, which is connected to the internet at all times, and asked the question. Everything you could possibly want to know about the subject was available to us instantly on our cell phones as we sat in our car speeding down Highway 63 in rural Missouri.
Along this life journey, I’ve observed that we are becoming increasingly impatient people. I have enjoyed the blessings of rapidly advancing and evolving technology that delivers results and instant gratification, but scarcely have I slowed down long enough to consider the impact that it’s having on me. According to Samuel Merrit University, at the very least, technology is having these five impacts on humanity:
- We have decreased attention spans.
- We are more easily distracted.
- We can more easily multitask.
- We have grown addicted to digital technology.
- Our in-person social interactions have been impaired.
David was anointed king as a boy. Chapter-by-chapter we’ve followed his journey across some twenty years from being a young hero over Goliath to developing into a warrior to spending years as an outlaw on the run, to becoming a mercenary for hire against his own people, to becoming the leader of his tribe. He didn’t realize the fruition of his anointing until he was 30.
Some things take time, and I am increasingly conditioned to believe that everything should happen for me immediately and upon demand. I know I’m at risk of sounding like I’m having a Grumpy Old Man moment, but I’m really not. I enjoy the blessings of technology as much as everyone else. At the same time, I wonder what it is doing to me, how it is changing me, and when I should be concerned. One of the fruits of God’s Spirit is patience. David had to learn it in his long trek to the throne. I have had to learn it (often the hard way) in relationships and life and art and business.
Today, I’m reminding myself to embrace patience. Some things take time in order to work out for the best, and I want God’s best for me, no matter how long it takes.
A Note to Readers
I’m taking a blogging sabbatical and will be re-publishing my chapter-a-day thoughts on David’s continued story in 2 Samuel while I’m take a little time off in order to focus on a few other priorities. Thanks for reading.
Today’s post was originally published in May 2014.
If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.