“Wisdom shouts aloud in the streets” (Prov. 1:20).
Nobody loves an “over-sharer” on social media—whether its documenting every detail of your child’s life, or complaining about your job, or giving a play by play commentary of your sick day at home. We don’t need to know you just went through your third Kleenex box in one day. While Facebook provides us a “like” button, many of us with there was a “TMI” button as well.
With this in mind, I must confess I am a bit self-conscious of my vast and steady stream of writings posted automatically to my Facebook page each day. I wonder how many people see them, roll their eyes and think, “Ok, pastor, enough pontificating” or “Isn’t one sermon a week enough?”
Let me share a little bit of the heart and motivation behind my Daily Illumination blog and why I continue to put my thoughts out there in the busy marketplace of ideas for all to read and enjoy, or to scoff at and ignore.
First, my initial motivation was to share the light of God’s revelation with people who may be walking in darkness and losing their way. My very first Daily Illumination blog post came on New Year’s Day 2009 with a simple reflection on Psalm 119:105: “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” The past decade of blogging began with a simple New Year’s resolution:
“Life is a journey…an all-night trek through darkened landscapes and blurry shadows. What a hopeless situation this would be if we lacked headlights to illumine the path ahead. Similarly, how foolish are those trying to navigate life apart from the revelation of God who is the source of all true light and wisdom!
…May we all grab hold of the light of God’s Word and let it show us the way. The light we have been given is a gift from God. We dare not keep it to ourselves or arrogantly scoff at those without. It is all gift. We are called to share this light with others who are still stumbling in the dark, bumping into each other and veering into ditches” (Daily Illumination, January 1, 2009).
Thus, I began blogging mainly in obedience to Christ who warns Christians against hiding their Christian witness under a bowl. Instead, we are to put it on a high stand to shine as far and wide as possible. My Facebook page is my largest social media “living room” and highest stand upon which I can “Let [my] light shine for all to see” (Matt. 5).
Second, the tagline for my blog has always been some variation of “…from busy the intersection of faith and everyday life.” This is not inspired by Walgreen’s slogan “at the corner of happy and healthy”, but rather the ancient book of Proverbs where wisdom is personified as an attractive but elusive woman crying out on the street corner at the busiest intersections, trying to get a hearing from people as they go about their busy lives:
“Wisdom shouts in the street,
She raises her voice in the public squares;
At the head of the noisy streets she cries out,
In the gateways of the city she makes her speech:
‘How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?’
As you probably guessed, its not a compliment to be called “you simple ones”, but it aptly describes the vast majority of people mindlessly cruising Facebook each day. This does not at all mean the “Simple” are stupid or unintelligent; it means naive or unschooled in the ways of ancient wisdom due to lack of effort or interest or opportunity to sit in Wisdom’s classroom. Let’s be honest: we’re seeking many things in our 21st century world and on Facebook today, but wisdom is not really not on the short list!
Wisdom’s voice is growing hoarse trying to find anyone amidst all the clamoring voices and hectic activity, desiring to seek after wisdom with the same intensity they are seeking other worldly treasures:
“My son, if you accept my words
And store up my commands within you,
Turning your ear to wisdom
And applying your heart to understanding,
And if you call out for insight
And cry aloud for understanding,
And if you look for it as for hidden treasure,
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord
And find the knowledge of God…
Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.”
(Proverbs 2:1-5, 9)
So, my daily blog posts are my meager attempt to parade Lady Wisdom’s attractive figure across the busy intersections of Facebook with all its whistling pedestrians casually scrolling about, passing the time, spying on old friends, watching silly cat videos, reading nasty meme’s and tripping over all the political trash littering the streets and ditches of the social media landscape.
I can only hope that occasionally someone will hear Lady Wisdom’s cry above the clatter, will stop to read one of my reflections, and by God’s grace might get a refreshing whiff of a way of life that is “right and just and fair” (2:9a). Perhaps someone will see that the path they are currently trodding is leading toward destruction, or at least falling short of “the life that is truly life” Jesus offers (John 10:10), and as a result be motivated to take the next exit off of it, and begin following Wisdom onto “every good path” (2:9b).
At the end of the day, if we’re going to be an “over-sharer” on social media, then let it be sharing words that woo us toward Wisdom’s “pleasant ways” and “peaceful paths” (Prov 3:17). For “pleasant” and “peaceful” are not two words often associated with the conversation on social media these days.
Humor me for a moment as I close with a new twist on Proverbs 3:13-18, and ask yourself what people are finding when they visit your Facebook page or blog:
“Blessed is the Facebook user who finds wisdom [on your page],
The person who gains understanding [when they read your latest post],
For Wisdom is more profitable than silver
And yields better returns than gold.
She is more precious than rubies;
Nothing you [do a google search for] can compare with her.
Long life is in her right and;
In her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways,
And all her paths are peace.
[Her blog] is a tree of life to those who [read] her;
Those who lay hold of her will be blessed.”
O Lord, grant me the wisdom and grace to write words that lead people to the tree of life; and guard my tongue and typing fingers, lest I lead people to the bitter fruit of the garden of sorrows. Amen.