We Americans spend 40 – 50 billion dollars a year on fitness: gym memberships, equipment, special shoes and clothing, supplements, etc. I am part of that consumer base and am a strong advocate for physical fitness—it is a critical part of our whole being.
This past week was particularly physically challenging at my job. One day I drug around a connection of three 100-foot industrial hoses while power washing the entire building in 95-degree weather (no sympathy from firefighters) and on another day I amassed over 22,000 steps primarily up and down a ladder and the air conditioner was not working (no sympathy from linesmen).
However, I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m sharing to make a point. I exercise regularly—so I feel pretty good physically. But these work tasks wore me out big time! And there were no technological innovations available to make the work easier.
It got me thinking about how our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc.…planned their exercise schedule? Their life was their exercise schedule! They didn’t need a gym—they had their farm or factory. They didn’t need the newest Nike—they had their boots. They didn’t need the newest gadget—they adapted what they had to what they needed. They exercised the “old-fashioned” way.
Yes, times have changed—for good and bad—and there is certainly nothing wrong with the innovations we have that enhance the various aspects of our lives, even our spiritual growth. At church this morning when the Pastor asked us to go to a certain Scripture I opened the Bible app on my smart phone. However, when I am here on at my home office writing this blog or working on other projects I prefer 3 or 4 open paper Bible versions along with some commentaries of theologians I trust and respect—the “old-fashioned” way.
It amazes me how our world has changed in my 50+ years or even during the years of my children. I cannot even imagine what my grandchildren will experience when they are my age. The way we work, the way we exercise, the way we learn, even the way we “church” has changed dramatically and will continue to change.
So, what are we to take from this inevitability of change? Well one thing I know is that we cannot hide from change. So, the bigger question is how do we approach change? Do we blindly accept the good and bad and let the results fall as they may or do we just long for the “old-fashioned” way of life?
I believe Paul give us sage advice in 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 where he writes, “Test everything; hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” This advice has applied to all generations for over 2,000 years and continues to be the truth until the end of our time. Contrary to an argument made by many, following the Word of God is not the “old-fashioned” way. God is timeless; therefore, His Word is timeless. Often, the difficulty for us is that this applies even when we do not understand or want to agree with His Word.
Despite our technology and despite our advancements we must ultimately answer one question. Who is the better authority on what is good and what is evil: me or the Creator of the Universe? Or even simpler, who is “old-fashioned” me or God?