The Expositor’s Bible Commentary was originally published about a century ago. A little while ago in studying for some writing I am doing I was looking at the comments on Ephesians by G.G. Findlay and the following on Paul’s advice for Christians to be careful how they walk caught my eye. It illustrates that the more things change the more they stay the same!
“We are too restless to think, too impatient to learn. Everything is sacrificed to speed. The telegraph and the daily newspaper symbolise the age. The public ear loves to be caught quickly and with new sensations: a premium is set on carelessness and hurry. Earnest men, eager for the triumph of a good cause, push forward with unsifted statements and unweighed denunciations, that discredit Christian advocacy and wound the cause of truth and charity.
What would G. G. think if he were around now? Most people today don’t read newspapers and never in their lives sent or received a telegram. We don’t carry on conversations face to face with one another any more, we tweet, text, SMS or IM. We are a people continually on the go; the usual cell phone call begins with, “Where are you?” Now we receive what information we get from Facebook memes and angry, biased rants. We don’t even have to wait until we can sit down in front of a desktop computer (remember them?) or pick up a laptop. We want to move fast either on the super highway or on the information super highway. We have our Iphones or an array of other devices with us all the time. We are impatient to get things done – yesterday if not sooner. We want our facts like our food – fast! Our opinions are formed on the basis of thirty second sound bytes on the news and ninety second video clips on U-tube or Facebook, the latter being fed to us with the proper slant for our preference thanks to the digital wizardry of Facebook engineers.
But the hurry-scurry life is nothing new. Jesus and his disciples faced the pressure of constant demands being made upon them. Mark tells us that “many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” What is different is the technology and the speed made possible by that technology. The solution to this issue is simple. It is the same today as it was in Jesus’ day. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31)