Today’s technology can make a really positive difference in our lives. (It doesn’t always do so, but it has the potential to.) However, when we put our faith in technology, we’re likely to be disappointed. Hard drives crash. Smartphones get dropped on sidewalks or in sinks. Servers fail. Passwords get hacked.
One of the best ways to safeguard important data against local hardware or software failures, though, is to keep good backups. As Internet connectivity improves, more and more people are taking advantage of devices and software that automatically copies their data (whether business notes or family snapshots) to remote servers. “Backing up to the cloud” may not be great for privacy or security (since it increases the number of hackable points in both transmission and storage), but it is great for reducing the risk of losing data.
In this fallen world, anything that we see around us has the potential to fail. Governments rise and fall. People let us down. Our bodies get hurt or sick. Even the weather can’t be counted upon to remain consistent (at least, not where I live!).
For the follower of Jesus, though, we look forward to something that is kept for us beyond the reaches of entropy and decay:
In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
John 14:2 NASB
As Jesus ascended to heaven, and will return (see Acts 1:9-11), following Him – and receiving the confirmation seal of the Holy Spirit that verifies our “account status” (see Ephesians 1:13-14) – is the ultimate plan for keeping our eternal lives secure. However, in order for us to benefit from a “cloud backup”, two things are required. Have a look at this instruction from Jesus:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;
Matthew 6:19-20 NASB
First, in order to back up something useful to the cloud (with technology), we must have worthwhile files in the first place. In the same way, in order to have treasures in heaven, we must have treasures. Certainly, the gift that we can never pay for is Jesus’ provision of salvation. (Until we choose to accept and follow Jesus, we might say that our “cloud account” is not yet set up.) Beyond that, though, Jesus’ statement above doesn’t seem to suggest that we stop there. Specific actions of “storing up” are required. This might be sharing the good news about Jesus with other people (so that they can join us with Him in eternity), helping other people grow up as mature followers of Him, or maybe just getting a head-start on praising and glorifying God.
If we spend our time just squandering opportunities to store up treasure, I’m afraid that we’re like someone who doesn’t take any good pictures or videos in the first place, so there’s nothing to back up to the cloud.
Finally, we must put our treasures where they count. If I back up my desktop computer to an external storage drive, but my desk (where both devices are kept) is right under a leaking water pipe, I could easily lose both. That’s kind of like amassing “riches” (whether money, goods, power, or fame) and investing them all in things that will perish with this fallen world. When our treasure and the things that we have invested it in are both destroyed, we lose it all.
Instead, may we actively work to collect good things (which are often not “things” at all, but more important results like relationships, reputation, and redemption). Then, let us invest them where they will outlive our mortal bodies. That’s the ultimate “backing up to the cloud”.