We took a trip last month for our family reunion, stopping in to see other family, as well. We opt for driving over flying, even when the distances are long. We drove over 2400 miles for this trip. It was all worth it, many times over, of course.
When we drive, my husband takes the wheel for the bulk of the trip. I drive for a couple-few hours once in a while, but he is a road warrior, and enjoys driving. I am the navigator.
The navigator, you may ask? Yes, indeed. When we go on a road trip, we use paper maps. We have a good navigation system in our car, and we bring our phones with us, which are the portals to anywhere one may desire to venture.
But, as we drove from here to there, and then from there to here, I appreciated our paper maps more and more. Granted, there is much folding and re-folding involved, but those maps give us a big picture.
Before we left for the trip, my husband got out all the state and regional maps. He figured miles, which cities we would or would not drive through, how long each leg would take, and the best routes taking into consideration all our needs. We made the decisions. We were able to look at many different options, we could see other locations around where we were driving, and we could prepare for our trip using a wide range of information.
Navigation apps show the short-range. Turn here. In one-half mile, turn left. In two miles, take the exit. The small print at the top shows that we’re to travel 58 miles before the next turn-off.
It occurred to me, while on the road and using our maps, that navigation apps are a pattern of a larger issue in our society. Navigation apps are very short-sighted. The computer makes all the decisions for us, and tells us where to go. We tell it our destination, and we assume that’s where we’re going as we follow its route; but we don’t get to see our other options, we don’t get a peek at the big picture. We can see only a few miles around us at a time.
Are we turning into a short-sighted culture? We want information, and we want it now. We make snap decisions based on what our feed tells us. While short-range information and decisions have their place, how often do we step back to take a look at the big picture? When our community / state / nation makes thus-and-such decision or votes for a particular issue, do we think of the long-range effects?
- Wind turbines (or wind farms) are portrayed as good for the environment. We thought so, too, until we looked at the costs and energy needed to produce each turbine, the cost of using wind energy vs the cost of other types of energy, the government subsidies and the money going into promoting wind energy, the fact that the huge blades last ten years and then go into a landfill (non-recyclable materials), the cost of producing and transporting the turbines, and the minimal benefits we reap from them.
- Defunding the police: yes, there are serious problems within our penal system. Serious problems come anywhere people are involved. Some communities are looking at long-range solutions and implications, such as diverting funds for other programs that improve the community as a whole.
- Our addiction to sugar and fast / convenient food: We pay extra money for the easy route; but we pay in other ways, too, such as deteriorating health. Fake foods don’t have the nutrients we need, so we are increasingly hungry. We keep eating non-nutrients, and our bodies cannot be satisfied.
- Pharmaceutical companies make lots of money from selling their “medications.” As we get sicker and sicker (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, allergies, auto-immune diseases, Alzheimer’s ADD/ADHD, autism, and suicide numbers are at their highest-ever), we look for someone to fix it for us, rather than thinking about the long-range implications of our lifestyles. Focusing only on healthy, nutritious food and exercise, to the exclusion of junk foods and couch-potato-ing, “miraculously” heals a multitude of physical and mental ailments.
- Government is happy to take over the education of our children, and many are happy to give it. In the long-range picture, we are training future generations to let someone else do the thinking, and to go along with whatever “they” say.
- Government pays us when we don’t work / don’t farm. Some like the situation, but it is leading to a nation of non-workers, and worker shortages. [We know a young man in his twenties who turned down a $40,000+/year job because he could make more money by staying at home – in his parents’ house.]
- Disposable items are right-now convenient: diapers, swiffers, plastic bags, water bottles, food storage, single-use items. But if you can see the future, you can envision that we are destroying our planet little by little.
- Finances: use money with long-range goals in mind, not short-sighted gratification.
- Education: whether for yourself or loved ones, look at the big picture.
- Family values and decisions: How do you want your children to look when they grow up? Where should they be spiritually when they fly your nest? Parent with this far-reaching vision in your decisions and discipline.
- 5G technology is celebrated and promoted as the latest and greatest, despite research evidencing the detriments to our health.
- Our dependence on electricity and technology is growing. Are we still using and learning the “old-fashioned” way to do things, in the event that a power grid is hacked or destroyed?
You are a steward of God’s resources. Use His gifts wisely. 1 Corinthians 4.2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
If you are a long-range thinker, I applaud you and I thank you. Those who take responsibility for their own actions, who carefully consider the future outcomes of present decisions, and who make decisions based on a wide range of options are the people who will ultimately run the world. The short-sighted folks will just follow along. Since they are short-sighted, they don’t know where they’re going and don’t know where they’ll end up. Many don’t care, as long as someone is taking care of them.
Please also consider the long-range picture of eternity. If you are living for the here-and-now, you must lift your eyes and take a good, long look at where you will spend eternity; because eternity is coming, it is a reality. God is Creator of Heaven and Earth. He created time and eternity. He wants to spend eternity with you. He gives us all the information we need to understand that Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life; no one comes to the Father but by Him (John 14.6).