I upgraded my mobile phone recently. It’s a process my wife Teri and I do about every two years. We usually set aside a couple of hours, expecting it to take that long to get waited on, explain what we need, get the new phones and then have the salesperson at the cell phone store transfer all of our stuff from the old phones to the new ones and then activate the new phones.
Then we do a factory reset on the old phones, wiping them clean of all the photos and contacts and apps. After a quick inspection we’re given a trade-in allowance to knock down the price of the new phones.
That didn’t happen this time.
Instead, the salesperson brought our new phones out of the back room already in a shopping bag. He said, “Here you go,” handed them to us and started to walk away. He must have sensed my confusion because he turned around and said, “Oh, we don’t do the transfer or activation in the store anymore. You can just do that at home. It’s pretty easy.”
It was not pretty easy.
After two online chats with customer support that lasted about two hours, an unsuccessful attempt to activate the phones online and a call to the help desk that informed me that I’d reached them outside of normal business hours, Teri and I had two new phones that could access the internet via Wi-Fi but could not perform their primary function, making and receiving phone calls.
Our relationship with Jesus can be an awful lot like that experience. If we don’t activate our faith, our joy, our love then our Christianity isn’t performing its primary function. Oh sure, when make Jesus the center of our lives we do experience joy, forgiveness, love, peace, all of those things. But if we only enjoy them by ourselves we’re missing out on quite a bit.
The apostle Paul wrote, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Being the type of Christian Jesus expects us to be demands that we share our faith, that we activate it by living it out in the world, by allowing Jesus to work not only in us but through us to reach others with the truth of the Gospel. If we don’t do that we become like a cell phone that can’t make or receive calls.
By the way, the next morning I managed to talk with an actual human being at tech support and we got both new phones activated in about 10 minutes.