Abysmal Students

January 2, 2020
Volume 24, Number 1

Every day my web browser presents a variety of articles it thinks I might be interested in. When I have a few extra minutes I’ll look through these, and occasionally find pieces that are worthwhile reads. That’s how I found the article entitled “’They’re abysmal students’: Are cell phones destroying college classrooms?”, written by Nate Anderson and published on ArsTechnica.com on December 27, 2019.

Anderson has served several years as a college professor. He has observed students both before and after the advent of cell phones. After writing about the current students he teaches and noting other studies that have been done, he concluded: “It seems inarguable that widespread use of Internet-connected devices in the classroom has had a negative effect on student attention …”

Not everyone agrees with this observation. Comments below Anderson’s article suggest that others don’t see this phenomenon, and perhaps it is the professor who is to blame for not engaging his students.

One thing we can all agree on, however, is that cell phone usage can fall into the category of “distraction”. It’s why many states now have laws which prohibit texting or other uses of cell phones while driving. But there are many things that distract us.

The challenge of distractions is not a new one. Consider a visit Jesus paid to the home of Martha and her sister Mary. Luke 10:40 tells us that “Martha was distracted with much serving.” Her sister, however, “sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word” (Luke 10:39). When Martha complained that Mary should be helping her, Jesus responded: “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42). Martha’s distraction kept her from the needed thing.

Christians are called to be good students of God’s word: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). But things often distract us from our calling to know God’s will, and the result puts us in company with the Sadducees, to whom Jesus said, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures …” (Mark 12:24).

As we read above, Jesus said that “one thing is needed”. What is that “one thing”? “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). When knowing and practicing God’s righteousness becomes our highest priority, we’re not as likely to be “mistaken”.

My goal is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19). To be a disciple is to be a learner, a student. Will I allow earth’s distractions to make me an abysmal student?

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2020, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.

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