Multi-core processors and multi-tasking minds

“Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”¬† “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:40-42 (NIV)

Man, this has been a distracting week! I’ve had so much to do that I’ve had difficulty focusing. But apparently, I’m not the only one struggling with all the distractions and complications of trying to multitask to keep up in this fast-paced world of ours.

Computer companies are facing a crisis as they try to achieve ever faster processing speeds. That’s how they get us to buy new units. They keep making them faster and more powerful. Up until recently they just kept making their processors faster until they began to reach the upper limit of a single processor’s speed. Now, developers have found a way to go faster by building multi-core processors. We hear them advertised as “dual core” and now “quad core” processors. They really speed things up when tasks can be divided into “parallel” paths. The crisis? Software. The software developers have been trained to think in a linear fashion. How can software be written that divides tasks into multiple parallel paths? Computer companies are frantically searching for a breakthrough¬†in software that can utilize multi-core processors.

It’s not just computers that are hitting their multi-tasking limit, so are we. I read an article recently that described the huge gains in IQ scores that a test group had when they focused on a task. The group was first given a test to take while being interrupted by emails, phone calls, and other distractions. Then, they were given a similar test while sitting in a quiet room without distractions. Their scores increased dramatically when they were in the distraction free environment.

In the book of Luke a woman named Martha is described as suffering from the distractions of life. She was overwhelmed with worry and was extremely upset.

“Lord, don’t you care?” She asked.

The answer Jesus gave her is the one we need to hear today.

Jesus said, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.”

Jesus told Martha to focus. Focus on one thing. The thing? Him. Jesus told her to focus on Him.

Maybe I need to slow down to speed up.

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