By Jim Tune
It’s staggering. We can buy Bible software that contains 2,000 Bible resources. We can read and search blogs of today’s top Christian leaders. We can attend conferences and hear the best speakers, or plug in our earbuds and listen to them preach. We can direct-message great leaders on Twitter. The resources at our fingertips are amazing.
Not only that, but we can write and publish whatever we want. A few years ago we could read only those fortunate enough to be published. Now anyone can start a blog, post a video on YouTube, or publish a book. Seth Godin says we don’t have to wait to be picked. We can pick ourselves.
We have technological power. The phones in our pockets rival the room-size computers that cost millions of dollars just a few years ago. I can download a book in seconds and a movie in minutes. Our cars beep when someone’s in our blind spot, and they can even drive themselves.
We can travel. George Whitefield, the 18th-century preacher, crossed the Atlantic by boat 13 times. He traveled throughout England, Ireland, Scotland, Holland, Bermuda, and the United States when travel was hard. Today, we can jump on a plane and travel almost anywhere within a day.
We live like kings and queens. We have indoor plumbing, dishwashers, central heating, air conditioning, amazing food, and more. We don’t always stay at five-star hotels or eat at five-star restaurants, but it’s not a shock to our system when we do.
We have all of this and more, and we still forget to be happy.
I have three suggestions.
First, let’s remind ourselves how blessed we are. This doesn’t mean we should never complain. Even today, life can be hard, and God can handle our complaints. But let’s never lose sight of all that he’s given us, and let’s be thankful for what we have.
Second, let’s not get used to it. Sometimes I worry that we’ve forgotten how to suffer. Ajith Fernando, a missionary in Sri Lanka, puts it simply: to serve is to suffer. “The Bible and history show that suffering is an essential ingredient in reaching unreached people,” he writes. “Will the loss of a theology of suffering lead the Western church to become ineffective in evangelism? The church in the East is growing, and because of that God’s servants are suffering.”
We must rediscover a theology of suffering. Nobody likes suffering, but it’s an indispensable part of the Christian life.
Third, let’s use what God has given us. Let’s make the most of the resources, opportunities, technologies, and time he’s given us for the sake of the kingdom.