I feel a constant struggle in my life between being a consumer and a contributor. In the last ten years or so, I have come to love reading. I can't get enough of it. I am not quite disciplined in getting enough time to actually get through all the books I want to consume. My Amazon wishlist is mostly books, and I have a very bad habit of buying books before I am finished reading my current reading list. This doesn't even take into consideration when I start to go back and reread a handful of my books.
The tension I feel lies between these two positions:
There is so much really great material that has already been written. (cue: Cracker song “What the world needs now, is another folk singer, like I need a hole in my head“)
I am called to speak. I am called to contribute. (insert MLK, Jr “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”)
It struck me the other day while listening to a message that brought me to one of my favorite parts of scripture, the Great Shema, Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.”
It struck me, it says hear. It doesn't say watch. It doesn't say, you will get it if you are around me enough. It says hear.
If we are made in God's image (Genesis 1), and God is a Creator (again, Genesis 1) then is it not a safe conclusion we are to be creators as well (notice the use of lowercase “c”)?
In my personal journey, for most of my thirties, I felt like I heard God saying to me… “shut up! just listen, you don't have to always be talking… your opinion doesn't have to be voiced” and just as I seemed to learn the lesson of being quiet and yielding and listening… now as I am in my forties, I feel that God has changed his script… “speak up, come on, you can't be quiet on this any longer.” So, the tension is in knowing when to speak and when to listen and to strike a healthy balance. I don't think I am far from where I need to be, but I also think that I need to cast off any fears I might have to speak the Truth to a world full of people who desperately need it.
I was sharing with someone yesterday, the consistent message that the world offers us; the news, the media, the marketers is “FEAR FEAR FEAR.” There is no hope without this policy, or that product, or did you see what you are missing out on… don't be the only one without a new, bigger, better toy, but wait you really need it.
And the reality is, none of the things that they are offering us actually provide fulfillment, satisfaction, freedom, or hope.
But, for those who have experienced freedom and hope, we know it will only be found in the person of Jesus Christ.
I need to be sharing this message louder.
I am not saying that nothing else is important to talk about, there are issues, there are applications… but, at the core of it all… without Jesus Christ there is no hope.
I pray that I get the balance right on the tension between being a contributor versus a consumer.
If you have experienced freedom through Jesus Christ, can I encourage you to join me? Let's speak out and share the GOOD NEWS!