This week I got the new iPhone 5 (be jealous). My wonderful wife sacrificed her AT&T upgrade to apprehend this coveted device as a gift for my birthday. Ringing in my ears were Jesus’ words, ‘Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his (cell phone upgrade) for his friends’ (John 15:13 – NJV – the New Jim Version).
I was surprised by a few things that this device does. Let me give you the run down:
Siri has now given me the ability to communicate with others in some pretty amazing ways. Not only can I speak a text message and send it without looking down at my phone; Siri will help me choose the most eloquent words ever heard or imagined (clearly I am not using this ability now). I can access any dictionary or thesaurus at any point to string together just the right words that will inspire generations and bring even the hardest of hearts to tears at the magnificence of my vernacular (thank you for that word, Siri). Beyond that, I can translate those words into any language giving me the ability to communicate globally.
Siri has also given me the ability to know just about everything at the touch of my fingertips. Siri can help me find detailed information about any topic by simply asking. I can use the information provided by Siri to avoid traffic and severe weather patterns. With Siri’s help, I could even rent a fleet of bulldozers and earth-movers and literally change the contours of the earth. Take that, Samsung Galaxy S3!
Most amazing still is the ability Siri has given me to care for people. I can access my funds at any point and empty my bank account to meet the needs of those who are without. Beyond that, a quick search and she can access the GPS to guide me to a nearby soup kitchen or homeless shelter within minutes. Siri, if I ask, will even give help me find and direct me to the most hostile and dangerous mission fields on earth. It’s truly amazing!
Yet, without love, it is worthless.
In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 Paul speaks of abilities beyond Siri saying this:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Sounds a lot like the powers Siri could give me (well, maybe Siri falls short…). What is clear from Paul’s description here is that, regardless of the abilities available to us, if we do not have love it is worthless. Siri is an incredible tool that can help me do things that my previous mobile device would not allow me to do; and for that, I am thankful. I am not the type of person who thinks people are in danger due to technology or that anyone should avoid all technology as if it is evil. Technology is not evil in and of itself, but only in the hands of people with evil intentions. Yet, in the landscape of American culture, I think it is important to keep technology in its proper place and to remind ourselves of what is truly important: Love.
I am reminded today that my dependence should be fully and totally upon the loving presence of Christ, not on the love of a device. For, as Jesus said, “apart from me you can do nothing…” (John 15:5).
I am reminded today that, if my first response in life is to “ask Siri,” I can lose sensitivity to the Spirit. I must remember that, ultimately, if I am led by the Spirit, I am a beloved Son of God (Romans 8:14). I can access the love of God through the Holy Spirit at any point, which is a power far greater than could be produced through technology.
At the end of the day, the only value in life is found in love. As we access the love of God for us and spill out that love to other people we find the greatest and most valuable power in all the world. And that is something Siri cannot do for us, but only our loving and powerful God.