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Conventional Thinking: An app-ed moment

A new smartphone app launched oversees aims to help “pregnant women get seats on public transport.”

The app, which was launched in Britain, was developed to make passengers on trains and buses who are constantly staring at their mobile phone, alerted to the needs to others around.

It takes two apps to make this work. “Once an alert is triggered, people nearby with the app receive a message saying there is someone who needs to sit down. The (companion) app… notifies passengers that somebody requires a seat … and will activate automatically if a seat request is sent.”

In other words, the mobile phone apps talk to each other, so that people never even have to look up. The app system was developed to help expecting women in particular.

The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) expressed support by saying, “Anything that helps women with a ‘baby on board’ to have a more comfortable journey can only be a good thing.”

Time will tell if this mobile app is effective in pregnant women being able to find a seat. But it is a sad commentary on society that manners and chivalry are so dead, that men would not automatically give up their seat to a lady, let alone one who is expecting a child.

It is even a sadder commentary that we are now so glued to our phones that we cannot see the needs of others around us. Before we think we are unique, we must remember that this is not the first time people have missed what’s most important.

Think back to the Little Town of Bethlehem. Mary was expecting a child, the Christ Child, the very Son of God. There was, though, no room at the Inn for Mary and Joseph. In God’s great providence, His one and only Son would be born in humble circumstances.

Yes, the biblical narrative, as well as news of this app, should remind us that there’s something in human nature that turns a blind eye to the needs of others around us.

This Christmas, we Christians should ask God to open our eyes to those around us. Perhaps it is a person struggling financially that you could bless. Perhaps it’s a person who is widowed and alone that needs a friend. Perhaps it is a child who is struggling to read that you could help. It could be the homeless person on the corner that God is calling you to see and to love.

God could have created the best mobile app ever to open our eyes at Christmas—and every day. But isn’t it amazing that He instead gives us the Holy Spirit, the very presence of God, to guide us instead?

Today, pray that God Himself would open your eyes to those around you. When He does open your eyes, do something about it, motivated by the love of God and love of neighbors. At the end of the day, that kind of love will be noticed by the world much more than any new smartphone app.

Brian Hobbs

Author: Brian Hobbs

Brian is editor of The Baptist Messenger.

View more articles by Brian Hobbs.

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