STEWARDS OF TECHNOLOGY
By Nancy Lamoreaux
Technology—how did we ever live without it? This is a question that many of us ask as we immerse ourselves more and more. In fact, when we are not connected there can well be a sense of loss. We may even panic if we cannot get onto the Internet. We want instant answers to all our questions. We track friends and family and we are tracked by all kinds of companies who want to know how we live our lives. We scroll through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all forms of social media to fill our leisure time.
"Being good stewards means respecting all the gifts that God has given us, and using them wisely for His glory with careful and responsible management."
“A reformed understanding of the stewardship of technology begins from the same foundation as our broader view of stewardship- technology is a God-given gift mediated through the good gift of human culture and innovation. Stewardly use of these gifts does indeed recognize the effects of sin on our use of technology and the need for limits—the corruption of sin opposed to the kingdom of God cuts through every aspect of creation, including technology. As such, a healthy view of technology will adopt neither wholesale acceptance nor outright rejection.”1
As Christian stewards, what does God ask of us and technology? As stated in I Corinthians 3:9 “For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building". Being good stewards means respecting all the gifts that God has given us, and using them wisely for His glory with careful and responsible management. The management of technology means being disciplined in how we use this gift from God. Good stewardship is a lifestyle choice and is evident in all that we do. When we spend too much time, energy or money on any part of our lives to the exclusion of a balanced lifestyle, we are not being good stewards. The use of technology can be one of the greatest blessings we have for spreading the gospel and learning. Technology can also become a stumbling block in our lives, consuming our time, energy and money. When we spend hours everyday on Facebook or other social media to the exclusion of the personal contact we need for a balanced lifestyle, we are violating stewardship principles.
There are many times when social media and other technology are the only ways we can introduce people to Jesus. Social media allows us to reach people who are not ready or willing to attend a church. They can discover a relationship with Jesus online. As we use social media and technology to spread the gospel there are several things to keep in mind:
• Communicate to be understood
• Ask questions to understand
• Approach controversial topics prayerfully and thoughtfully
• Do not embarrass your brother or sister online
• Deal with your differences respectfully
• If you are getting angry STOP as counsel set forth in Colossians 4:6 “Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
• If you are trying to prove a point rather than win the person consider Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”
When people begin a journey to Jesus in an age where there are more mobile devices in the world than there are people, we need to be relevant and good stewards as we introduce people to Jesus. The Bible is no longer constrained in the form of a physical book—it is a book that can be with us all the time by simply downloading an app. Just search for YouVersion on your mobile device and peruse all the apps that are available for downloading. Your choices are many. Let’s take a look at this most popular Bible app available. YouVersion has well over 192 million installs of the Bible throughout the world with 799 languages and 1,115 versions. According to YouVersion 45% of the readers use this app in the morning with 80% reading YouVersion at home closely followed by people reading it wherever they are.2 With YouVersion you can share Bible texts, do Bible studies, create a daily reading plan on a variety of topics, find out where live events are taking place and find resources from the Bible to help in your daily life.
"An important thought to keep in mind is the benefit of designing an individual plan for our personal use of technology. It is easy to get carried away with spending too much time with technology that takes us in a thousand directions with no clear destination as we click link after link."
An important thought to keep in mind is the benefit of designing an individual plan for our personal use of technology. It is easy to get carried away with spending too much time with technology that takes us in a thousand directions with no clear destination as we click link after link. Decide what works for you. One option would be to set a certain amount of time for email, Facebook and other social media. When that time is over, evaluate what you have accomplished. Each person will be different with different goals to accomplish. Be aware of the stewardship of the time you are spending with technology and be true to your purpose. As we look at our stewardship and the use of the stewardship, E.G. White states, “It is the duty of all who touch the work of God to learn economy in the use of time and money. Those who indulge in idleness reveal that they attach little importance to the glorious truths committed to us. They need to be educated in habits of industry, and to learn to work with an eye to the single glory of God” (Messages to Young People, p. 300). With this thought in mind, stewardship by definition, begins with the thought that everything we have—time, talent and treasure—is God’s gift to us. What is our attitude as we use these gifts? Do we seek to use them to the glory of God or for our own pleasure? Since technology is a God-given gift to us, it is our responsibility to use it in the service of God—individually, as a congregation or in the community at large. We can use it as a congregation to stream and podcast the sermons presented in our church. We can use it to engage our young people with their devices in the worship service rather than being frustrated in their use of social media during the church service. We can reach our local community through our local church by training members in the use of technology for outreach.
We need to ask ourselves some questions: What does my local church website say about your church? Is my church website up-to-date with weekly events and features? Is my church website appealing to both members and visitors? Can people reach someone at my church through email and is someone responsible to answer the email? These are simple ways in which technology can be used to reach the larger community and introduce them to Jesus. When people come to us looking to find a better life in Jesus Christ, we need to be ready, in every way, to receive them with open arms and our personal touch.
Jesus Christ has given us what we need to finish His work, and He asks us to be responsible stewards of His valuable gift of technology to us, and hasten His soon coming.