“Multi-tasking” is a myth, so says several scholars. We think we are giving equal attention to a couple of items at once, but we’re not. Two rules I’m trying to live by: (1) Don’t check your phone when you are with another person and engaged in conversation with them, and (2) give your undivided attention to the person you are with.
Many Christians are quite familiar with the missionary/martyr Jim Elliot’s statement when he said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” That’s a wonderful quote. [I once taught a preaching course in Bible college and I told the students that if they are using such a quote in their sermon and they mess it up, just keep going! Sure enough, one student said, “He is no fool who loses what he never had to gain what he cannot keep.” I was roaring with laughter inside, but I was proud of him because he kept going!].
There’s another famous Jim Elliot quote that is worth pondering. He said, “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every moment you believe to be the will of God.” When we seek to multi-task or are not giving the person in front of us our best attention, we are simply “not all there.” I’m learning, slowly, to focus on the other person and to develop serious friendships.