“Married But Not Engaged” is the title of a book I recently came across. Interesting play on words, isn’t it? For the sake of this blog, please allow me the liberty to change the word “married” to “baptized.” My prayer is that the phrase “Baptized But Not Engaged” does not apply to you or me. Truth be told, there are probably times that we aren’t as engaged as we should be with God, the Church or our brothers and sisters.
I believe we are all engaged with something or some things or some people. The true meaning of the word “engaged” is being busy or occupied. What occupies our life?
Speaking for myself, after I recently stopped working, I was no longer busy or occupied on an everyday basis. I had less stress in my life, but I felt a little lost since I no longer had revenue goals to meet and meetings to attend. Although this was a good change for my mental health, as silly as it sounds, I struggled with having so much free time. I had to focus on being productive and not squandering my time.
Am I engaged with the important things in life?
- Do I visit the sick?
- Do I reach out to people that we haven’t seen in a while?
- Do I volunteer to help with projects for the betterment of the church?
1 Corinthians 15:58 exhorts us to be “stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
What are we busy doing? What are we engaged with? A job? Social media? Family? School? Our branch?
As an example, it is good for us to be engaged with our job. In Hebrews 13:18, the apostle Paul instructs us to have a good conscience, and to live honestly. Living honestly means fulfilling the task that we are being paid for. However, if our job consumes us, then that is not healthy for us on any level.
Many of us are engaged with social media in some form. Social media is not evil, if used for its intended purpose, which is to be social. But if it begins to overtake life, we should consider disengaging. 1 Corinthians 6:12 gives us great advice on choices that we make. “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
There isn’t a better scripture that I have found that speaks to the state of our current society. Just because something isn’t illegal doesn’t mean that it’s beneficial for us. Are we engaged with things that enhance our spiritual life, or do we spend time watching other people live their lives? A recent study shows that an average American adult spends over 11 hours per day interacting with some form of media. Are you an average American adult? I challenge you to step away for just a day. See how you feel. Are you anxious to see what you’ve missed, or do you possibly feel less stress?
In my recent job, I sold advertising on social media, thus I had to be very engaged with it. Since I am out of that environment, it’s a relief to no longer make social media a must in my life. I won’t say that I am no longer involved with it, but there are many days when I am not a part of the social media world. It seems that the less I am engaged with it, the less I desire it.
Seventy-seven percent of Americans own a smartphone, which allows instant access to most everything. Some are great things, such as our family and the scriptures, and some not-so-great things. I’m sure you’ve seen the couple in a restaurant sitting across from each other, but each is looking at a phone. I’ve seen moms with their child in a park, looking down at their phone. Rather than looking at a screen, let’s be present in the moment and engaged with what is right in front of us.
When we are in church, are we engaged with the speaker? Are we engaged with the music? Are we engaged during the testimony service? Are we engaged with our brothers and sisters, or do we rush away as soon as the last amen is said?
When we were baptized and promised to love and serve God to the best of our ability all the days of our life, we got engaged! Let’s stay engaged, especially to those things that are expedient!
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.