They can scare you to death if you aren’t careful. You will recognize one when you see it. If you cross paths with another human being waving their hands in front of a paper-towel dispenser, beware, you are within striking distance. Restroom wash basins are going automatic. If you aren’t prepared to awaken the beast, stepping in front of one of these tongue wagging paper dragons can send a shiver down your spine.

I wouldn’t mind having a talk with the guy who adjusts how much paper towel you get from the dispenser. He thinks he is being sneaky by limiting the amount of paper, but he doesn’t have anything on me. I get all the towels I want by simply impersonating a traffic cop. I have had a few funny looks, but when I wave my hands and kick my feet, the towels just keep coming! Maybe I would get less looks if I lost the whistle.

Automation is like magic. Wave your hand and water comes pouring. Clap your hands and light appears. I was on an airplane not too long ago, and once we reached cruising altitude, the captain appeared walking about the cabin. You guessed it, we were on autopilot! On the way to work, I’ve seen a few women applying makeup while driving behind the steering wheel of their cars. I didn’t realize automobiles were so advanced. Now that is technology!

Several years ago, friends from rural Africa visited me in America. These are some of the sweetest and brightest people I know. However, I never pass up an opportunity to have a little fun. You should have seen them scream when the automated doors swung open at the shopping mall. If you think that was bad, you should have seen them when we went down a glass elevator! It was cruel, but it was incredibly fun to watch. They enjoyed it so much they wanted to go up and down the elevator over and over again. Shoppers thought they were elevator operators!

A friend of mine is convinced shoppers would stay longer and spend more money if shopping malls installed moving sidewalks. I think he might be right.

As much as I love automation, there are a few places where automation just won’t work. Putting your relationship with your spouse and kids on automatic is a bad idea. Those closest to us need hands-on attention. When we go on automatic, they see right through our insincerity and want to pull the plug.

Putting our Christian walk on automatic is a dangerous proposition as well. As Christians we tend to settle into routines. An automated spiritual journey can become mundane and often robs us of our passion for Christ.

Romans 12:11 reminds us to never be lacking in zeal, but to keep our spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Going automatic is great so long as it doesn’t deprive us of our zeal. Think about that the next time you get caught waving your hands at the lavatory. It’s OK, you can use the whistle so long as no one is looking!