Would a Robot Have Replaced Me on My First Job?
My first job was at a Dairy Queen in Houston, Texas. I was 16 years old and earned $1.83 an hour. My specialty was making double dip ice cream cones.
It turns out, if I were starting my work experience today, I might have to pursue a different vocation.
Starting this fall, the White Castle burger chain in California will test a robot arm named Flippy that can cook french fries and other foods. The restaurant chain was already considering this innovation when COVID-19 struck, accelerating the need for a touch-free environment that minimizes contact.
Flippy is not the only potential competitor for my culinary aspirations. Sally is a refrigerator-sized robot that makes a variety of salads and bowls. Customers can choose from 22 prepared ingredients stored inside the machine, which can make around 65 bowls before workers need to refill it.
A Timeless Truth We Often Neglect
It is an obvious fact that our culture is changing more rapidly than ever before.
The pandemic has disrupted our economy in unprecedented ways. More people are working remotely than ever before. Technology is transforming some vocations and ending others. Loneliness was a pandemic even before the COVID-19 outbreak and has now risen to even more dangerous levels.
In these chaotic, conflicted days, I’d like to suggest a timeless evangelical commitment that we apply too seldom to our lives. The “sanctity of life” is a biblical doctrine we usually emphasize in January when working to advance protections for preborn children. We proclaim and defend the fact that life begins at conception and is precious to God from that moment forward.
I am seeing this doctrine employed more frequently these days with regard to end-of-life decisions as well. As physician-assisted death becomes an increasing but tragic reality in our culture, more and more evangelicals are emphasizing the fact that every life is sacred to God until the moment of natural death.
Now it’s time to apply this affirmation of life’s sacredness to ourselves.
Five Hundred Billion Protons
When David testified that he was “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), he stated a scientific fact.
Your heart pumps enough blood through your body every 24 hours to fill a railway tanker. Every day, it exerts as much effort as it would take to shovel 20 tons of gravel onto a platform as high as your waist.
You are made of protons, the core of atoms. Look at the dot on an “i” in this sentence. It holds something in the region of five hundred billion protons, more than the number of seconds contained in half a million years.
Your Father made all of that, for you.
You live in a visible universe that is now calculated as a million million million million miles across. Through a telescope you can see around one hundred thousand galaxies, each containing tens of billions of stars.
And you’re watching all this on a planet which spins at the speed of a thousand miles an hour at its equator. Your Father made all of that, to make a place for you.
And then he made you. His Son died on the cross for you and rose from the grave for you.
Harry Emerson Fosdick on Change
Now the God of the universe wants an intimate, passionate, personal relationship with you. He invites you to trust him with your greatest fears and challenges, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
And he is calling you to pay forward his grace by sharing his compassionate presence and hope with those you know.
Harry Emerson Fosdick noted, “Christians are supposed not merely to endure change, nor even to profit by it, but to cause it.”
What changes will you cause to the glory of God today?
Jim Denison, PhD, is the founder of Denison Forum with a reach of 1.8 million. He also serves as Resident Scholar for Ethics with Baylor Scott & White Health.