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Robot Sidekick

Do you own a robot? It seems that they have become very popular. R2D2 and C3PO achieved fame in the Star Wars series, and working models can now be found in toy stores. Police have robots to sweep rooms for bombs, and to deactivate explosive devices before humans can be injured. Even NASA employs robots as in the Mars Rover Sojourner.

One of the first robots many of us met was Rosie the Robot on the futuristic cartoon series, “The Jetsons.” In the very first episode, Jane Jetson goes to the robot maid agency and eventually selects one spunky old clunker named Rosie. This robot can do everything. She becomes a part of the family, and takes care of every task with excellence.

Later, robots became even more popular. In 1984, the modern day Transformers hit the screen and made millions of dollars in sales. Still today, Transformers have “transformed” into current technology. Then in 1987, along came Metalhead, the fifth Ninja Turtle of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. He didn’t like to eat pizza.

But enough history. What’s happening today in the world of robots? For one thing, teenagers are creating robots and competing with other teens to design, build, and program them to accomplish amazing tasks. This is a sure sign that robots will be used more in our future. Maybe, Rosie the robot will become a must-have home appliance like a refrigerator or dishwasher.

While I understand the potential of robots, I was not prepared for this incredible Wall Street Journal report. Apparently, Toyota, the automaker, has begun marketing a small talking robot targeting senior citizens and childless women as potential buyers. Kirobo Mini stands four inches tall, has really big eyes, and is able to sense the emotional needs of its’ owners, similar to your pet puppy. It will fit in the cupholder of your car and is able to carry on a conversation, ask questions, and express sympathy with its’ owner as the need arises. The automaker says that the robot can “assimilate hours of data to better the everyday lives of drivers all over the world, informing future innovations and developing transport that’s in tune with the driver’s mood, suggesting places to visit, routes to travel and music to listen to.”

All this companionship for only $392!

Wow! Has life come to this? Have people become so lonely and isolated that they have to buy a robot to talk to? Have we become so unable to cope with the opinions of others, that we have to purchase and program a machine to tell us what we want to hear? No wonder people don’t want to go to church. They don’t want to hear the truth. They want to live in their make-believe world, surrounded with their pre-programmed machines that cater to their every need.

Well, we know that won’t work for the long run. Machines have issues, too. Consider the recent internet breakdown on the East Coast. Machines all over the 13 colonies were silent. How many of you have had a car that won’t start, or a clock that stopped? In a storm, have you ever had the electricity go out? Your expensive, pre-programmed, state-of-art machine just sat there. Dead. Any sympathy or concern for your feelings is kaput!

Now what? Friend, you need a real friend. A friend that sticks closer than Kirobo Mini. There is a friend that sticks closer than any brother (Proverbs 18:24). Jesus said (and did), “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus is the best friend you can have. He is there in blackouts and brownouts. His love in unending, unfailing, and undeniable. What a friend we have in Jesus!

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