Staff Editorial: avoid putting things before God

Students are eager to spend money on things like the new iPhone 4S, but things should never take priority over God.

Chimes Staff, Writer

For weeks, the world waited with bated breath to hear Apple’s newest announcement. Tech blogs proclaimed the impending arrival of the iPhone 5 — the phone of everyone’s dreams. When the proclamation was finally made just over two weeks ago, the technology world, and Biola, went wild. Facebook and Twitter blew up with updates focused on the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5? No. But something great nonetheless. Biola students seem to be snatching up the iPhone 4S quickly, eager to have the latest and greatest technology in their pockets.

The unfortunate side effect of the constantly evolving technology is the desire to own the latest and greatest piece of metal. There is nothing wrong with nice things, but when those habitually come before serving God with our resources, it’s time to reconsider our priorities. While the Chimes staff are certainly among the first in line for smart phones and other gadgets, we think this is an appropriate time to consider the ramifications of cultivating a materialistic lifestyle.

As believers, we get too comfortable with our lifestyle cushioned by our possessions. The danger is that this may become a veil over God’s calling for us. With the help of technology and social media, our culture is growing more and more self-obsessed rather than focusing on what God calls us to: being selfless.

Money spent on things instead of people

The 400 bucks it takes to pre-order the newest installment in the iPhone series could be distributed more beneficially among any of Biola’s ministries and mission teams or a ministry supported by a church back home.

But the question is, where does our money go? Many have grown up hearing words like “tithe” and “offering,” but do college students include that in their budgets? When the ministry table asks for a $5 donation, do we tell them no because our plan for that money includes telling our friends we have the phone with the best Instagramming capability?

Pragmatically, standing in the front of the line for new technologies rarely seems like an economically sound position. After all, give it a few months and prices will drop. All that glitters grows dull. It’s the nature of the technology beast. In an economic climate where graduates are desperate for jobs and students are dropping out due to expensive tuition, the cost of the newest iPhone and its endless data fees are not a choice to be made lightly.

From the outside, it is difficult to see what leads someone to an unnecessary purchase. It’s important to remember that what might seem like an impulsive waste of money to one person might be an infrequent indulgence for another.

Reconsidering priorities

Smart phones, laptops and tablets on the cutting edge of technology can be utilized as tools of outreach and ministry, and may be crucial to doing our work with excellence. But we must be critically attentive to our purpose behind these purchases. Will it be self-glorifying or self-sacrificing?

When your possessions are getting in the way of your relationship with God, it is time to take into consideration Jesus’ command to sell all you have. Harsh words for our culturally attuned ears to hear, but Jesus seems to take seriously discipleship in his kingdom culture.

At the next keynote press conference, we have a choice. We may choose to fill out our pre-orders to add an S to our 4 and trade in our pods for pads; or, we might pause, weigh the necessity of that purchase and choose to place our money elsewhere. It all boils down to where your priorities lie.

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