Did you know that there is a washer and dryer set with a smart electrical meter installed that will automatically determine the most economical time of the day to start your wash? And, if you do not trust the computer to make the judgments, you can check on loads or start and stop them from your personal smart phone. (Sure beats my recent visit to the laundry mat!)
There are also smart toilets that with a touch of a button spray your personal areas with warm steam and then follow that up with a current of hot air. There are buttons for scented air. Buttons for heating the seat and so on. (I had a firsthand encounter with one of these toilets while in Korea a few years ago. Since I could not read the instructions, I ended up just pushing all the buttons and watching what happened. Very funny stuff!)
There is a new refrigerator from Samsung that on top of all the usual amenities, offers three intensities of fizzy water through the door. You get to choose and a CO2 canister will carbonate your water any way you want it. (And I thought magically getting ice cubes was a neat feature!)
But my favorite new generation home appliance is the Laurastar Pulse ironing board. In addition to being an amazing household steamer, it also blows air through the base making sure that your clothes hover while you iron. (Truth is, I hate to iron!)
Bath tubs with under water speakers, roving pool-cleaning robots, personal weather forecasting devices, and cars that park themselves. All these multifunctional appliances are solving problems…some of which we weren’t even aware we had!
I got to thinking about this layer of complexity that is being offered to all of us as I reached for a coffee mug yesterday morning. In my little apartment, I only have 4 mugs to choose from. In my old house, the mugs covered two full shelves. But the lack of complexity right now is actually very comforting. The simple life does have its advantages.
I think that is what Paul was driving at in I Thessalonians 4:11-12 as he encouraged the church to not be too dependent on others in an unhealthy way. Mind your own business. Work with your own hands. Be self contained.
Complexity breads dependency and frankly expense. Speakers embedded in a bath tub will be expensive to repair. Sparkling water out of the refrigerator door might be convenient, but will certainly cost more than the bottle sitting on the self. Ironing boards that cause clothes to float are more complicated and cost a whole lot more than the one from Wal-Mart.
Maybe this week is a good time to look around our own environment and ask, “How much is enough?” How many devices help and when do they start to complicate rather than assist? Consider the song, “Bare Necessities” out of the Disney movie, “Jungle Book.”
“And don’t spend your time looking around for something you want that can’t be found. When you find out you can live without it and go along not thinking about it, I tell you something…the bare necessities of life will come to you.”!
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel