Persons and Smartphones

There is a story in Luke 7:36-50, where at a single meal, Jesus encounters two people of totally different backgrounds. A Pharisee is there who invited Jesus to eat, and a ‘sinner’ enters, a woman who causes a scene when she lavishes worship on Jesus during the meal. The Pharisee was not happy about that. “If this man were a prophet,” the Pharisee Simon says, “he would have known … what sort of a woman who is touching him, for she is a sinner!” he says (v39).

There are many lessons in this story. I encourage you to consider one that can be easily overlooked. Jesus showed honor to both persons by noticing them. He responds to Simon with a brief parable, communicating that Simon didn’t value the forgiveness of Jesus like this woman clearly did. He also responds to the woman, commending her actions aloud when talking to Simon, and then talking to her directly, saying “your sins are forgiven” and “go in peace.” Jesus took notice of both persons right in front of him. He didn’t jump off and start talking about the Roman state or the latest news about a local person, or the latest controversy. He didn’t talk to them as though he hadn’t heard anything they said. He noticed them. He listened to them. He responded in kind.

How so with you? A British news article came out this week that surely applies to us here in Western Pennsylvania too: “Parents’ mobile use harms family life, say secondary pupils.”+ In the article, interviews with 2000 students reported that 36% of the students had asked their parents to put down their mobile phones at dinner. 22% said the use of mobile phones stopped their families enjoying each other’s company. This is not about the kids being distracted. It is about the parents! But kids apply, too. Phones offer a tremendous amount of conveniences in one small package. But as with any new technology, let it aid your love of God and man, and not impair it. We must not let anything – plans, entertainment, work, or in this case, phones – be a regular wall preventing you from noticing the real persons right in front of you.

Love the one who is near by noticing them. For Jesus has loved you personally, and knows you personally. God’s grace and peace.

In the lamb, Pastor Jeff