Photo by digitalgenetics/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by digitalgenetics/iStock / Getty Images

How many times have we found ourselves giving advice in conversations, not because our companions ask for our input but because we can't resist sharing what we "know"? Sometimes our friends and family want and request our opinions, and other times we find ourselves slipping into the power of suggestion without an invitation.

 How about this idea?

Have you ever tried that?

What if you...?

There's an app for that.

Ever since our word processing systems quit auto-correcting the word, "app" to "asp," a few years ago, the little icons on our smartphones are common topics. Our experience with those apps can easily find their way into the sharing of advice.

I wish I could better organize my finances.

There's an app for that.

I know I need to drink more glasses of water everyday, but I forget when I get busy.

There's an app for that.

I wonder which gas station in town has the lowest prices.

There's an app for that.

Apps can be fun topics of discussion among friends, but like much of consumerism, they promise to make our lives easier and more productive. I had three different note-taking apps at one time, all of them recommended by friends or magazines to help with my writing discipline. When I boasted to a friend that I still used pen and paper for a running grocery list, she pulled out her phone and showed me an app that "was so much easier" than keeping up with a sheet of paper.

Indeed, apps can make our lives easier, and testimonies vary from person to person. Sometimes, though, what seems easier is not always the better route for us to take.  Not only in the world of the smart phone, but also in all the choices we make in life, quick and easy may only last as long as fast food satisfies a craving.

After all, in the gospels, Jesus never recommended the path of least resistance. He warned us that discipleship required taking the rockier road.

21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
— Matthew 19:21-22

Jesus is not asking us to delete all our apps or toss our smartphones in a local pond. He's not commanding us to move into tents with only one change of clothes. But he does invite us, along with the young ruler, to reflect on what we possess and if those things have begun to possess us. The young ruler's possessions likely made his life easier, but he still felt unfulfilled. Otherwise, he would not have sought out Jesus. Jesus presents him with an alternate, but more difficult path, of faith and sacrifice. Such a choice may not be easier by worldly standards, but there is great, eternal fruit that springs from choosing to follow a traveling rabbi on the narrow path.

We may find ourselves overextended in an overhyped atmosphere with an over-apped phone. And if we do, perhaps it's time to stop and consider simplifying our choices. Earlier this month, I read an article about the habits of productive people and was intrigued by the practice of doing away with to-do lists and instead putting everything on my one calendar. I have struggled with to-do lists for a long time and decided to try it out. Simplifying by putting everything in one place did work!

Sometimes all we need is one simple change, the release of one possession, to discover heaven's treasures here on earth. What do you need to release today? And is there an app to help with that?

all good things to each of you,

Pastor Darian