Sometimes I feel like a Cranky Old Woman. You know the ones – their benchmark for all things good is the past, and they long ago lost their wonder at the sheer miracle of living.
Instagram can do that to me. But it’s not the attention-seeking self-focus of the world that bothers me. It’s all of the trendy Christian “influencers” with SOMETHING TO SAY. Scroll through any list of Christian authors or speakers, and there they are, with their blinding smiles, perfect hair and fashionable shoes. Scan their bios and there will usually be something about coffee and how they don’t always get it right, but they’re trying, and perhaps their weakness for binging Netflix.
Their carefully-curated online personas can leave us ordinary people feeling like we are losing the race to significance.
Covid has stripped many of us of our illusions. We have come up against the harsh realities of life in a frighteningly unstable world. We need seasoned believers to speak into our fears; those who can offer encouragement and hope gained from a life of steady faith. Christians who have walked with suffering and wrestled with darkness. People who live as if heaven is real and Jesus is worth it.
I enjoy reading and listening to young authors and bloggers, because of their fresh perspective and their insight into our cultural moment. But sometimes I wonder how some of them accumulate much real living amid all of the Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest posting and the scrambling for content to lay before their followers every day.
How do you grow in wisdom when you don’t leave room in your life for acquiring it?
It is not hard to gain knowledge. A quick internet search will produce a thousand answers to every question. But wisdom is only built through experience – and hard experience is the best teacher. It’s also best cultivated in the quiet places of suffering or serving or being overlooked.
Jesus said that fruitfulness grows from a humble seed first hidden underground. In a culture driven by social media, though, hiddenness and humility look like losing.
“Who is wise and understanding among you?” James asks. “Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” Humility doesn’t trend well on social media metrics. But it counts in ways that are most important.
A shiny penny may lose its luster over time, but if it’s invested, it increases in value. Are we trying to cash in on a trend, or storing up treasure in heaven? Are we merely polishing our pennies…. or investing them?