Sharing at the Expense of Learning

by Mason King September 28, 2015

“There are some things which cannot be learned quickly, and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. They are the very simplest things and because it takes a man's life to know them the little new that each man gets from life is very costly and the only heritage he has to leave.” — Ernest Hemingway

When I love something, I want you to know about it. Even more so, I want you to enjoy it like I do. Whether it be the lyrics that pricked my heart, the meal that made my night or what the Lord showed me in the Scriptures this morning, I want to share it with you.

But am I sharing too soon?

There is something right and good about rejoicing in beauty with others. However, I wonder if we’re shorting ourselves in the sharing. Does the act of sharing too quickly rob us of the joy of knowing more deeply? I’m afraid that some of our daily actions foster this in ways we may not expect.

Lately I’ve had to ask myself, “You’re sharing this, but are you sharing too quickly? Are you growing content with the snippet of truth over the depth of learning the truth afforded to you?”

Here are two scenarios from my life:

I scan Twitter, and I either retweet or favorite posts that I like and agree with. I interact briefly with a post that holds truth, and then I pocket my phone and go on.

I sit down with the Scriptures to engage the text. The Holy Spirit meets me in the text and gives me eyes to see something about God’s character and my hope in Christ. I default too quickly to pastor mode, beginning to think through ways I can share this with someone and what points I might get across. My eyes move from my first role as God’s child to my second role as pastor. I’m now studying for a lesson to teach instead of learning what I’m being taught.

In the shift to sharing, I fear I’m grazing. I fear that I’m deceiving myself into being full. The sheer number of sources I graze from on a daily basis is shocking when made into a list: Twitter, Facebook, email, Instagram, Feedly, texts, photos, voicemail, radio and television. It’s no wonder that grazing keeps me distracted from my true meal, much like the three baskets of chips before my fajitas. But I am pointing to, retweeting, liking and commenting on these things all day.

And it seems okay because everyone else is too.

These thumbed double-taps are convincing me that I have apprehended a truth because I have affirmed it and shared it with my circle of friends. I’m under the illusion that I have actually learned what I have put before others. My friends now associate it with me, so I can, as well.  Lately, I am far less often inclined to sit and mine for beauty, rather than run and share a snippet of it with others.

In this, I trade the beholding for the quick glance, but the jewel of Christian hope demands fixation. The beauty of Christ is inexhaustible and brings ever-increasing joy for the diligent seeker.

We are dedicated to our diet of information. The sources we look to are confined to what we view as worthy. We have limited our options to pursue depth, discriminating with our intake, and it shows in our lives. When we are uncritical adopters, we fail to sift for the good and hold onto it. We graze with little concern because the discovery of the new entertains us.

The call of the Christian is to behold the beauty of Christ. We are to keep our eyes fixed upon Him as we call others to see Him. Our attention is to be focused on Him—our eyes upon the oldest thing that never gets old—letting the new pass by without fear of missing out.

There is a difference between sharing and learning. Don’t confuse the two, thinking you have learned what you have shared. Acquiring true knowledge comes at great effort. It demands more than our weakening appetites, and we must strengthen ourselves to acquire it or be contented with ever-spoiling entertainment.

Our deepest joy depends upon it.

Originally posted on The Village Church Blog May 29, 2014.

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