By Jim Faughn
Remember answering machines?
For many of our younger people, it
may be difficult to relate to anything other than “voice
mail.” It may surprise them to learn that there was, in
fact, a way to leave a message with somebody before the
invention of cell phones and voice mail. However, answering
machines have not quite yet gone the way of the horse and
buggy. It is still possible to call something we now call a
“landline” and leave a message on one of those devices.
I was reminded recently of an
experience I had a number of years ago with an answering
machine. I dialed the telephone number of a woman who had
lost her husband several months earlier. At least I thought
it was her number that I had dialed. I began to wonder,
though, because of the message I heard on the machine. I was
listening to a man’s voice. At first, that surprised me, but
it only took me a couple of seconds to realize that I had,
indeed, dialed the correct number. I was listening to the
voice of her late husband.
As technology continues to develop,
newer ways of preserving voices and images are available.
Those who have the “know-how” can even put images and voices
of those who are no longer living together with those who
are. They can produce something that makes it appear that
the dead and the living are working together, performing
together, or having a conversation with one another.
Families are often comforted by hearing the voices and/or
seeing images of departed loved ones.
However, the ability to communicate
past the time of our earthly demise has existed for a long,
long time. Consider what is said about Abel in Hebrews 11:4:
“By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice
than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God
commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his
faith, though he died, he still speaks (ESV, emphasis
I suppose we could call it our
legacy, our influence, our impact, or any number of other
things, but what we do now can continue to “speak” long
after we are gone. In Abel’s case, he was “speaking”
thousands of years after his death.
I wonder what message I’m leaving
on my machine. How about you?
- Jim Faughn serves as an elder and preacher for the Central
church of Christ in Paducah KY. He may be contacted
through the congregation's website: