Does your phone positively influence you or negatively influence you?
For most of us, the answer is a bit of both.
Our phones act as a connector, bringing us closer with friends and family in instantaneous conversation. Our phones act as encyclopedias and cookbooks, placing a wealth of information and recipes right at our fingertips. Our phones act as catalysts, sometimes mobilizing the Church more efficiently and quickly than ever before.
But on the other end of the spectrum, our phones are dividers, pitting neighbor against neighbor in battles over insignificant matters. Our phones act as distractions, stealing our attention and our hearts away from our families. Our phones act as deceptive currents, carrying us into culture and away from God.
What does the Bible say about phone usage? Of course, this type of technology did not exist in first-century biblical times. Even so, Jesus’s teachings can still provide us with direction. As Jesus journeys to Jerusalem where He will spend the final days of His ministry, He tells a parable to onlookers about stewardship, commonly known as the Parable of Ten Minas.
In this parable, Jesus describes a nobleman who gave three servants ten minas, which was a type of currency at the time, each and told them to “engage in business until [he] come[s] back” (Luke 19:13). Two of the servants multiplied the nobleman’s gift, while one avoided risk by not engaging in business at all. The one avoidant servant returned to give the nobleman back exactly what he started with. And the nobleman called him an “evil servant” (Luke 19:22).
Why did Jesus wish to show his disgust for the final servant? Because the servant was not obedient to his master. Because he feared failing his master, he did not even attempt to engage in business. Though he did not lose anything, he did not gain either. He passively forfeited the opportunity to please his master. Therefore, the master called the servant “evil.”
As we consider stewardship of our homes, our finances, our time, and even our phones, this parable holds important truths for us. We too have a command from our Master.
What has Christ instructed us to do? Simply put, Jesus calls us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). Just as the master invited his servants into his business, Jesus invites us into God’s plan to grow and expand Christ’s kingdom. What a joy!
However, what are we doing with this privilege? Are we wasting our time in fear and complacency? Or are we keeping our eyes fixed on our master, determined to obey Him?
How can our phones help us obey Christ’s command and help us love God and our neighbor more effectively?
How to Use Your Phone to Glorify God
Here are a few ideas for using our phones to glorify God, enrich our theology, and make disciples:
Phone Tools That Can Be Utilized to Glorify God:
These suggestions involve tools or apps on your phone that can be utilized for God’s glory.
- Keep a gratitude note on your phone. Include dates and ways that you have seen God show up in your life.
- Set alarms for prayer throughout your day. The goal of prayer alarms is not to become rigid in our prayer lives but to develop a habit of going to God in the regular rhythms of our everyday life.
- Set reminders to pray for people in your life that need specific prayers, set other reminders to pray for things like your church, your church’s leadership, your country, your neighbors, etc.
- Find an audio Bible you love and use it to dwell on Scripture. Perhaps begin with the Psalms!
- Set reminders to text long-distance friends to intentionally check in.
- Venmo a coffee or a treat to someone having a bad day.
- Ask for your neighbor’s numbers. As simple as this may sound, having a way to check in on those surrounding you is a beautiful way to share the love of Christ.
- Set boundaries. Perhaps you turn your phone on only after you spend time with Jesus in the morning or you take a break from social media one week per month.
Ideas for Using Social Media for the Encouragement of the Church
These suggestions involve ideas for using social media as a tool for encouragement of the Church and kingdom-building, rather than a distraction from your ministry.
- Share what God is teaching you recently. Perhaps share what you are reading in Scripture or invite others to read alongside you!
- Invite women in the area to your church or to an event so that they may find community.
- Stay up to date with local needs by joining community groups/pages on Facebook.
- Call out fruit when you see fruit. See someone doing something good? Send them a private message telling them about the goodness you see God doing in their life.
- Curate your follows. Does following this account teach you truth about Scripture? Does it uplift you to better serve the kingdom? Do not be afraid to unfollow accounts that lead you away from God.
- Follow ministries doing impactful work around the world, join them in prayer and maybe support.
- Follow teachers, theologians, authors, etc. that grow your love and your knowledge about God.
Likely you have felt exasperated with your phone at some point this week. Whether it has distracted you, discouraged you, or divided you, the solution to phone frustration may not be as simple as turning it off for hours of the day or even deleting social media for good. Though these may be great options temporarily, they do not address the underlying problem.
The problem with our phone usage is our hearts; hearts that are torn between things of this world and things of heaven. Therefore, the usage of our phones can reveal what we treasure. As we take a step back to evaluate our phone usage, let us be honest with ourselves. If we are spending hours on social media, if we are constantly online shopping, if we are endlessly searching for new places to travel or a new home to purchase, we may be distracted from our calling.
If you are in Christ, you now know your calling. You now know that we are instructed to use our resources to share the good news with those around us. Christ has invited us not only into His kingdom but into its expansion. May we treasure His kingdom more than the kingdom of the world. May we use all of our resources wisely so that we may hear “well done, good servant” when we finally meet Jesus (Luke 19:17).
Additional resources on using your phone to glorify God