Danger of Viewing the World from Behind a Desk & Smartphone

Danger behind a smartphone

“A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world.” –John Le Carre


I read this quote today after spending several hours behind my desk. If you spend a lot of time behind a desk, a laptop, or a smartphone, then maybe you’ll take pause as I did …

I don’t think this is a critique on those who have to work from a desk, computer, or smartphone, but it does provide some perspective on what true dangers are today. I would submit that our culture’s intense busyness and lack of solitude with God has taken us into the red zone.


I recently took my family on a five day backpacking trip for our summer vacation. We caught about 25 cutthroat trout (sorry I can’t tell you where we went, that’s a secret), we played a lot, and we had some amazing conversations around the fire and under the stars. There is so much I learn about each of my kids and my wife when we spend time out in the wilderness together. We cook together, enjoy plenty of time for conversation and have lots of quiet time in solitude with God. On this trip my kids shared some things with me that had been on their mind for months, but it wasn’t until we had all of this down time together that I was able to ask the right questions of them to draw out their true feelings. 

It’s humbling, but I took this as a reminder of the true danger of sitting behind my desk and laptop too much.

From my desk a few weeks ago before we went on our backpacking trip I would have said that we are all doing great as a family. And that was mostly true… but by having the time away from my desk out in the wilderness with each of them, I learned so much more about what is deep inside of their souls, that I didn’t even know that I was missing.

Wilderness ministry is so vital for the church today. We are all so “busy” but often that busyness is from behind a desk, computer, or laptop—and from there we can only see a small sliver of the world. The dangerous reality is that from there, we only get a small peephole view into the world and into people’s souls. 

One of Solomon’s Proverbs states:

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.


I think that modern culture needs to take a fresh look at “danger” and recognize that there are other dangers besides physical dangers in the world. There are dangers even more serious… like not caring for your own soul by abiding in Christ, or not knowing the souls of people God has put into your life and missing the Spirit’s nudging to speak into other people’s lives, etc.

From the desks of many, lots of large, important world problems are addressed. But from those same desks may be men and women who think they have a holistic picture of the world around them, but unfortunately are actually only looking through a chink in the logs. That is dangerous. We all need more time of solitude with God. Not more time behind our technology.


  • Are you “behind a desk” or “behind a computer or smartphone” too much?

  • Do you see any danger signs of arrogance in your life that you think you are seeing things clearly when actually you may only be seeing a tiny bit of light through some small cracks?

  • What is stopping you from getting out into God’s creation for some time of solitude and prayer to care for your own soul or the soul of someone else?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

5 thoughts on “Danger of Viewing the World from Behind a Desk & Smartphone

  1. Hey Kyle, wow I resonate with your questions! At first thought here are a couple of things that do come to mind. When I tend to break up my week into about three different types of activities that are required for my “work”. One category is people, another one is creative work, and another one is planning/admin/leadership, etc. So when I get a request I first consider how it fits into the “available” time I have in one of those categories. And most things aren’t urgent so I don’t mind scheduling things out if needed. Also, I ask, “am I the person for this? Is there ANYONE else who can do this?” And if there is someone else, then I try really hard to delegate stuff to others, unless it is something that I feel only I could/should do. Delegation is a lost art in leadership because people are often afraid to pass off something… but I find that this withholds blessing from so many capable people out there who would be blessed if you would just ask them to help, etc. Lastly in regard to commitments. I do tend to keep my commitments if I have made them whenever possible. There are times thought that I have realized that I really messed up and did not inquire of the Lord before making a commitment. If keeping that commitment is really going to bring harm to my family or others then I have to think about “triage”… Is more harm going to be done to my primary relationships (family, work relationships, etc.) if I stick to my commitment? Will the “harm done” be minimal if I humbly go the person who I have committed something to and ask them if it would be okay if I back down because I am totally in over my head? Often times this helps… and if we humbly own our over-commitment as sin and ask others’ forgiveness for that, then the damage can be mitigated I feel. But overall, I’d say that happens rarely for me as I will always try to fulfill my commitment, unless it is obvious that I’m out of God’s will, and I feel the green light from Jesus to ask to “get out of my commitment.” I hope that helps!

  2. Hey Ashley,

    Loved the post, and agreed on your sentiments about the dangers of the office lifestyle.

    I’ve found the saying “hindsight is 20/20” to be true in my life, and often I realize that I’ve made some poor time management/work lifestyle choices only after I’ve already made a commitment.

    Could you answer these questions for me?

    1) When confronted with a decision, such as a request for your time or energy, what questions to you ask yourself before making a commitment?

    2) What does the Bible teach about keeping commitments after you’ve realized that the commitment will negatively impact your family and other areas of life? Is it ever OK to go back on a promise you’ve made?

  3. Hi Ashley,

    I love your writing. You are right on about needing to get into the wilderness more. My sons are now 26 and 23 and live in other states. I so miss our times together backpacking, hunting, and fishing. Just being together for extended times in God’s beautiful creation is good. We may spend a lot of time not even talking, but just sharing the experience. I also spend a lot of special and close time hiking the Rocky Mountains with my wife. We always grow closer during those experiences.

    I like your discussion about “danger” too. So many people are afraid that bears and other dangers lurk behind every tree. I feel much more threatened in downtown Denver. Being in wild places helps to clear your mind and focus on what is important.

    I know Jesus, John the Baptist, Moses, and many other Biblical characters often went to the “wilderness” to understand their true callings. They would return with brave hearts and clear vision to share God’s word with others.

    • Awesome comment Matt, thanks so much for sharing your story. Maybe there is a way to help your sons pass on your love for the wilderness to people in their churches or to their friends. I love the idea of multiplying vision through others. Thanks for sharing your passion!

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