Robyn and I purchased our first cellphone in the fall of 2001. I don’t remember the exact model, but I know it was a bright blue Nokia phone. It was a pretty exciting purchase for us. At the time, we were newly married and living in Beckley, West Virginia, which was approximately 8 hours away from our nearest family members. This mobile phone cost half as much as our landline, and allowed us to call friends and family back home as much as we wanted for no extra charge, provided we called after 7pm or on the weekend. Further, when we would go back home to Indiana from time to time, we could still be reached by our new-found friends in West Virginia.
An extra added bonus of making the transition to the cellphone was that we no longer received calls from telemarketers. The only people who called our phone were people to whom we had given the number. When our phone rang we eagerly ran to answer it with full assurance that whoever was on the other end of the line was someone we knew and someone with whom we wanted to connect. For years the ring of our cellphone was music to our ears (sometimes literally as we learned how to turn songs into “ringtones”).
I don’t know when the change began, but I know it happened. At some point, businesses recognized the mass exodus from landlines to cellphones and refocused their unwanted and unsolicited attention through this new medium. But God, in His wisdom and grace, inspired humanity to integrate a gift for the ages into these cellular devices, CALLER ID! (Hear The Hallelujah Chorus in the background) This amazing innovation allows us to see the number, and often the location, of the caller on the other end. Now we are able to “screen” our calls to make sure that we actually want to speak to or hear from the person calling. We can know with a relative amount of certainty that the call is worth answering.
We need to learn to identify those calls that are worth answering and those that are better to ignore.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we had Caller ID for every aspect of life? Every day we have millions of things calling for our attention and energy. Sometimes the things that call for our attention are worth our time. They speak truth and meaning into our lives and allow us to more fully live the life to its fullest potential. Other times, they are meaningless wastes of time that do little more than distract, annoy, and anger. Our attention is extremely limited. When we pick up the proverbial line to answer one call it limits our ability focus on another. Sure, we have call waiting and can receive multiple calls at the same time, but we can’t offer them all equal attention. We need to learn to identify those calls that are worth answering and those that are better to ignore. We need to learn to screen our calls.
The apostle Paul says it this way, “Be careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lords will is.” In order to make the most of every opportunity, we need to be able to discern which opportunities will allow us to experience and do the most good. At the very end of the passage, Paul gives the foundation for screening the calls that come to our lives. The calls that are consistent with the will of the Lord and the calling He has placed on our lives are the ones we need to make sure we answer.
I believe that God is consistently calling us.
I believe that God is consistently calling us. It’s my belief that through spending time studying His Word and walking with His people we will learn to discern the calls that will help us to connect with Him from those that will distract and discourage us. Through understanding God’s word and the prompting of the Holy Spirit, perhaps we have exactly what we need to screen the calls of life.