Written By: Amber Miller
You have likely heard the expression “you can’t take it with you,” in reference to material goods that are no good to us when we die. Likewise, the experiences that we invest in while we are alive can be just as useless, if we choose to spend our time and energy poorly.
I came across a Facebook feature that invited me to add a “Legacy Contact.” According to the website itself, “a legacy contact is someone you choose to look after your account” after you have died. This feature is apparently intended to memorialize a departed person’s life and help their loved ones grieve. The sentimental benefit, I imagine, is to immortalize your memory through the pictures and posts that you accumulate throughout your life. If you think about it, isn’t that what Facebook and Instagram are all about? All the time and energy that we put into updating our statuses must account for something at the end of our lives, shouldn’t it? If we are so willing to invest in what others think of us, we must really care about it.
In many ways, the practice of using devices, apps and “social” media platforms have become religious in nature. For example, consider the rituals that apps like Snapchat and Instagram have created: episodically taking 10 slightly different pictures of the same people and things, riding the symbolic “like” bandwagon with virtual “friends,” and literally dying for the perfect 5-second “selfie.” Sharing your daily activities with an invisible online community are now deemed so important that prayer before a meal has been replaced with pictures before a meal. Yet, like the Snaps on your phone, appreciation for what you post about lasts only so long.
My point is that we make time for the things that are important to us, and when rituals become so ingrained into our daily lives, I would dare to call it worship. I’m not saying that any of these devices or apps are inherently bad. However, it may be a good idea to put things into perspective. When your family is placing flowers on your casket and watching your body descend into the earth, will your reposting a cute video or ‘liking’ a Buzzfeed article make a single difference? Will your daily practices truly benefit real, live, flesh-and-blood human beings? The time we are given in this life is swift, precious, and often taken for granted. We are not guaranteed another minute in this life, and an entire eternity awaits us after death. What experiences will we take with us when we die, and what legacy will we leave behind?
God gives His mercies to be spent;
Your hoard will do your soul no good.
Gold is a blessing only lent,
Repaid by giving others food.
– William Cowper
If publishing article online please attribute source Serviam Ministries with link to original article.