By: Joe Leavell
Our family was an early adopter of Amazon’s Echo. These smart devices are mind-blowing in all the things you can get them to do! If you want to play music you just say, “Alexa, play music from my library.” If you want information, you can say “Alexa, what is the weather like outside today?” If you have some smart bulbs or plugs you can say, “Alexa, turn on the living room lights.” You can even ask it “what is the airspeed of an unladen swallow?” and get the right answer! Privacy controversy aside, the list of things you can tell it to do keeps getting more and more extensive.
I didn’t realize how accustomed my family had become to utilizing Alexa until recently when one of my sons got ready to pray before bed and began his prayer with, “Dear Alexa…. oops! I mean, Dear God…” We then laughed as he was very self-conscious about the fact that had just confused God with Alexa.
Very Far Off?
The more I reflected upon him starting his prayer with “Dear Alexa” instead of “Dear God”, the more I didn’t think my son was totally off base in the way we sometimes pray. I wonder, how much of our prayer would change if we exchanged God’s name with our smart devices? Our wake-up word is, “Dear God…” and our hang up words are, “In Jesus name, Amen.” “Siri, get me that promotion!” “OK Google, make my kids obey me!” “Alexa, take this pain away!” “Fix my spouse!” “Help me stop sinning!” “Heal my loved one!”
Now to be sure, we know who we’re talking to so we dress it up with nice words like, “Please” and “If it be your will”, but at the end of the day, we are still treating God like Alexa. We are thankful He is always there to listen when we call Him to do what we want. We recite our list and expect him to carry out our requests. Once He has accomplished his purpose for being summoned, He is shelved in the background until He is needed again. When our requests are delayed or go unanswered, we wonder if God wasn’t listening, doesn’t care, or if it was something we really cared about, is He even there.
God has A Different Relationship in Mind
In John 6, after miraculously feeding 5,000 men from only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, the crowds were amazed at what Jesus could do for them! The next day they followed him around the Sea of Galilee and rather than receiving another miraculous meal, they faced a rebuke,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.”
In other words, they weren’t seeking Jesus because the bread and fish revealed Him as the object of their desire, but because their bellies were full and they found Jesus useful. Jesus was little more than a means to a self-centered end.
What follows in John 6 is a very interesting dialogue between Jesus and these people who approached Jesus for more bread. They refer back to the children of Israel eating manna in the wilderness and ask Jesus if He would do something similar for them. Jesus’ answer is astounding! He tells them that God would provide them a bread that would give them eternal life. Their reply? “Sir, give us this bread always.”
Yet they did not anticipate Jesus’ response.
“I am the Bread of Life.”