According to a Fast Company article, General Motors (GM) employees are prohibited from walking around while talking or texting on their phones. While the rule wouldn't be unusual for manufacturing facilities or warehouses, GM's rule also applies to offices. The company has made a commitment to safety in everything they do, and they want their employees paying attention to potential hazards.
Many have watched, and possibly giggled at, videos of people walking into walls or stumbling while distracted with their phones. But walking phone distractions have also caused people to experience serious injury, or worst, by falling or even walking into traffic.
Dangers of distracted driving are widely recognized. A fact sheet by End Distracted Driving gives some disturbing numbers. In 2016, more than 37,000 lives were lost in U. S. traffic accidents. According to the NHTSA, 10 percent of fatal crashes and 15 percent of U. S. injury crashes were because of distracted driving in 2015. The NSC points out that distracted driving crashes are under-reported and were responsible for 27 percent of the crashes in 2015.
The factsheet also quotes a University of Utah study which found that talking on a cell phone while driving, results in the same level of impairment as a legally intoxicated blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent. Drivers using cell phones are 5.36 times more likely to get into an accident than undistracted drivers. The USDOT found that texting increases the risk of crashes or near-crashes by 23 times. Distractions can cause embarrassment, serious injury and death.
In the kingdom of God, many are unfruitful because of distractions. The Lord compared the kingdom to a sower spreading seed (Matt. 13:3-9). Some seed fell by the roadside where the birds then came and ate the seed. Other seed fell on rocky places where they quickly sprouted, but the young plants soon dried up because the shallowness of the soil had produced few roots. Other seed fell among the thorns where the thorns choked the young plants out. But some seed fell on good soil where they yielded a crop (Matt. 13:3-9).
In describing the meaning of the parable to his disciples (Matt. 13:18-23), the Lord said the seed was the word of the kingdom. The seed that the birds ate represents the word that was snatched by the enemy because the hearers didn't understand it. The seed sown on rocky places represents people that received the word with joy but fell away under trial because they had no root. The seed which fell among thorns represents people where the worries of the world and the deceitfulness of riches chokes the word, and it becomes unfruitful. The good soil represents people who heard the word, understood it and bore fruit.
He also who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, but the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful (Matt. 13:22).
Clearly, the word which fell among thorns became unfruitful because of distractions. Worry is a distraction. Wealth can be deceiving and chasing after it is a distraction. One could even argue that distractions may have played some role in the individuals that didn't understand the word and had it stolen from them. Possibly, some of the individuals who had no root never matured because of distractions.
Good can also be a distraction for the best the Lord has for us. Martha had a servant's heart. She welcomed the Lord into her home and was busy preparing for Him. But her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord's feet while listening to His instructions. Mary asked the Lord to get Mary to help her with the preparations. But he responded that Mary 's choice was best. The Lord Jesus, the Son of God, wants a relationship with us. Service is good, but a relationship with the Lord is essential.
As they went, He entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and listened to His teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she came to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Then tell her to help me."
Jesus answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed. And Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken from her" (Luke 10:38-42).
All that is in the world: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life are distractions (see 1 John 2:16). We have needs and can have a human tendency to worry and focus our attention on them. But that is not the solution. Needs and worries are distractions. Jesus told us to seek His kingdom and His righteousness first. Everything else will be added to us. Let us determine to seek, deepen and expand our relationship with the Lord. As our relationship with the Lord improves, distractions will become less bothersome. We will have exchanged our worries with His peace. Fruitfulness will be assured.
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you" (Matt. 6:33).
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics at Oral Roberts University.
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