The internet is a crazy place today. From videos of corporeal punishment with people’s children, to videos of Trump making a fool of himself, to all the “yanny” and “laurel” memes, to so many scenes of daily living, I wonder if we have any filters any more. I am no exception, taking pictures of my food before I eat it (why do I think you all care!?)
Our whole lives have become a show – a billboard for others.
And while I see an undercurrent of yearning for connection and community, I wonder if most of us are wise when it comes to internet.
In Scripture today, wisdom is a topic.
In Matthew we see Jesus paint himself as the healing Messiah, the Servant, and the Son of Man, whose mission is to his people despite the opposition from the Jewish authorities. Jesus seems agitated as he defends John the Baptist, and his own ministry: “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
It is apparent we will need to faculties of our own minds again to determine the truth behind Jesus’ ministry. Wisdom will guide us to know he is the Messiah, the Servant, and the Son of Man. Through his miracles, deeds of loving kindness, and teachings we see a person who stood with John the Baptist in breaking forth the kingdom of heaven. His deeds speak for themselves.
Behind his words, though, there is agitation. One can almost hear, in the John the Baptist exchange, Jesus throwing up his hands and saying, “You see? I am cursed if I do, or cursed if I don’t!” John was made fun of because he didn’t drink and eat. Jesus was called a glutton and drunkard for eating and drinking. Well, I guess you can’t win here with the crowd.
Part of what Jesus is saying is that “what the crowd thinks” should be at the bottom of our list of things to worry about. What he is demanding is the excellence of our ministry – a reaching out to the poor, the outcast, the sinners. If we do that well, we will see the kingdom break forth, just like Christ brought it forth.
We would do well to put at the bottom of our list of importance “what the crowd thinks.” It is not all about how many LIKES you get on Instagram, folks.
While the cross is of central importance to our beliefs and understanding, from the mouth of our Lord, we also get a strong push into the here and now of daily needs. We see that tending to the daily needs of people is of key importance if we want to follow our Lord.
And wisdom will alert others as to whether we are genuine followers of Christ or not.
I see the Church in North America struggling too – struggling for LIKES – struggling for numbers. We seem to think this is a popularity contest. It is not.
We need to be struggling with daily living instead.
We need an increase in wisdom, not an increase in LIKES.