What is the vibrating demon? Well for me it is my iPhone. Yes, I know a phone really is quite a necessity in ministry these days. Why? I’m not sure, considering millions of pastors did quality ministry without ever needing to answer a phone, and millions after them did quality ministry without ever needing to answer a text. Yet, here we are, they are for some reason a necessity of ministry; but still for me at times my iPhone is the vibrating demon.
I say vibrating demon because my phone is almost always silenced due to my career being in a constant cycle of meetings and so it vibrates to get my attention. And I am ashamed to say that I respond faster to my phone than I do my wife, my kids, maybe even God. Why? Because we are driven by the immediate and not by what is truly most important.
Well, the other day something happened and I have decided I will no longer let the vibrating demon control me.
I had about an hour free in my afternoon before needing to head out to our school for a meeting and I decided to run home quickly and check in on the family. When I arrived home my wife and kids were hanging out by the pool, don’t hate me because God has called me to Pastor in California 🙂 I sat down on one of the pool chairs, set my phone down on the end table by the chair, and began to talk to my wife. After several minutes of conversation my 4 1/2-year-old and 2 1/2-year-old boys came running over to me and started asking excitedly, “Daddy, Daddy will you swing us?” I told them to hold on while I finished talking to Christina (my beautiful wife) and then I said, “Ok.” My 2 1/2 year old loves to help me get up. Whether it is standing up from a chair or getting out of bed he loves to think he is pulling me to my feet. So he begins to tug on my arm and as I am getting up I reach down and grab my phone. Landon and I take about two steps towards the swing and then he stops me, and in a very serious voice he commands me, “Put that in your pocket Daddy! Put the phone in your pocket!” I looked at my wife and she gave me a look that communicated, “How cute” & “I’ve told you so” all in one. Then I looked back at Landon, he was serious we weren’t budging ’till I put the phone away. He hasn’t learned the pocket doesn’t stop the distraction, but in that moment I learned the phone needs to be turned off!
I would rather be fired or asked to leave my church because people don’t feel like they can get a hold of me than to ever have my boys think again that the vibrating demon is more important than them. If my 2 1/2-year-old has already figured out the distraction the vibrating demon is to his Dad, how is he going to feel as a teenager after years of that instrument of ministry and others taking away his Dad’s attention?
So tomorrow in the morning, when I am with my boys the phone, is going off…not just on vibrate…not just in the pocket…off!
Pastors (and all parents really) if you feel like your phone is a permanent extension of your hand due to calls, texts, twitter, email, Facebook, your kids, and your wife feel it too, so turn it off!
There are enough demons out to get us and our families, don’t let the vibrating one that you have control over be one of them!