Do you know how different the world is today? It used to be when you wanted some information you needed to pay. Dial 1212 or *69. . . A few cents here a few cents here, but you always had to pay. Do you remember USPS. It has been bankrupt for sometime because of a tiny little character: “@”. Now, everything is free.
Do you remember when you used to have to buy an e-mail address and pay for megabyte usage? I know it seems like decades ago. Now it’s all free. Need some information about your boss, a caller or a private address? No problem, just google it and you’ll find out everything you need for free.
Do you remember when you went to a doctor to find out what was wrong with you? Now, you google it and WebMD tells you your symptoms, treatment plan and the best doctors in the field. Mapquest will even tell you exactly how to get the 11.2 miles from your house to the closest recommended physician. When you actually do meet a doctor, it is only to confirm what you already knew and to get a prescription for the meds you already know you needed.
Do you remember your favorite professor who you thought was smarter than anyone human on earth? Now, as you listen to him talk you google his quotes and fact-check him instantly though the web. Preachers cannot just blow off silly illustrations anymore, before you make a point the congregation has checked with Snoops.com to see if your illustration is a bluff. Before your professor can teach one class Wikipedia told you more about the subject in a concise way than an hour of his rambling. Is it any wonder more people are enrolled in “distance learning” than sitting in a stuffy building?
All this free stuff is changing the world. Everyone can be smarter and empowered just by clicking a few buttons. I know, that is a dated comment as everyone uses touch screens nowadays or Siri will just tell you want you want to know. Who types on “buttons” anymore? I even tried to find a typewriter so I could show my kids what ancient technology was about, but alas, they will probably have to wait until we visit the Smithsonian one day.
I started blogging almost three years ago to add my voice into the plethora of voices echoing in the digital hallways. Millions of ideas are espoused each day and I decided that I wanted to add my voice, free of charge, to the noise. Anyone can read what I post or go to my YouTube channel and view what I have offered. Usually, less than one hundred people will read any one of my posts which I poured my time into. But, I figure, a hundred people reading what I say may help others, so why not share from my experiences.
Well, a couple of weeks ago I had a post go viral. No, I didn’t need to consult WebMD, going “viral” is good. It made me a bit nervous because the information I posted can be freely seen. The post was about guns in America, a hot topic I learned from CNN (no, not the cable TV show. . .the mobile app). Well, I wrote a blog titled, “Welcome to my world! A world without guns!” I posted it at night and expected to get my typical hundred readers when I woke up, but when I opened my e-mail my inbox was jammed with comments to be checked. Hundreds of people were viewing my post, then thousands. In all, more than 30,000 people viewed my post in just 4 days. That is about one reader every 10 seconds!
Now, my blog broke all the “rules” of writing. It had a long title, more than 21 characters; the blog had too many pictures (6); the blog had way too many words (1,821 words), when the maximum is recommended at 600! What caused this post to be so powerful?
The power of “share”. “Share” is what you do when you like something so much you want to tell all your friends about it. I have 2,040 Facebook friends and just over a hundred Twitter followers, but those friends began to share and share and share. As they shared, others read it and shared it as well. I have no idea how many times the post was shared, but I do know that more than 30,000 different people (“unique views” they say) read the post. More than three hundred left comments! Most were affirming or curious for more details, while others just wanted to insult me.
Welcome to the modern world. . . where everything is free! Sharing information today is the key. You’re silly if you think you can hide your knowledge and somehow sell it for your personal business. Today, people want to know what is free and then they will pay for additional services, but you can’t hide information anymore. Just check the web, go ahead, google anything you can think of. . . I promise, it’s already there. Want to build a house? Not just any house, but a castle? Yep, it’s already there! The whole floor plan, complete with wiring plan and plumbing diagrams. Want to speak Zulu, basic words are free and you’ll be ordering chicken in no time. Whatever you can dream, it’s already there in whatever language you desire.
This modern world affects us Christians too. Do you remember when you went to church to get “fed”? Ever heard of a podcast? If you only went to church to get “fed” then you can be a glutton on iTunes. Never get stuck in rain again. I listen to sermons from all over the world ever day. I am daily fed by some amazing pastors like Bill Johnson, Dave Bryan, Randy Clark, Peter McHugh and many others who may or may not even know who I am, other than a “unique visitor from an IP address in Phnom Penh, Cambodia”.
So, here is my conviction: If you have it: give it away. Freely. Jesus had the same concept. He said, “Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:8). I know Jesus is talking about “salvation”, but the concept is the same. Everything Jesus brought to the world was free, salvation, healing, advice. . . and in only a few generations Christianity became the most dominant religion in the world. Then they started to sell it and it began to decline.
Google learned from Jesus. They gave it away. Facebook followed the Master’s philosophy as did YouTube, Twitter and all those others social media tools. They are all free. The only way they grow is by sharing what was freely given for anyone to use.
I think it’s time we Christians remember the power of share. Use social media freely. “Like” what is honorable and just. “Share” what honors Christ and glorifies his name. “Tag” truth to point others to the Way. Don’t share stupid stuff, that just makes you look bad. Don’t share those amazing pics of pigs flying because most of us know it is just Photoshop. Present Christ in full HD with your digital image. Give the knowledge you have been entrusted with away to others, free of charge. What’s the alternative? obscurity. You know, even the Hutterites have a website and cable channel! I recommend WordPress.
P.S. If you have no idea what I am talking about, find a fifteen year old kid to explain it to you. There is a lot of power in sharing.