We are now living in the most advanced era of information technology in human history, known as Information Age. Exchanging information has never been so easy. In fact, the world is as if in our hands with the existence of smartphones, tablets, computers, etc. People who have access to internet live in two worlds: the real and the virtual, and therefore you and I now have dual identities: the real and the virtual versions (which could be equal or opposite). The reality that we not only care about our real lives, but also our virtual images, with the unceasing news we receive every day (not all of which is important) often make us feel overwhelmed. The first thing people do when they wake up in the morning and the last thing they do before bed time at night is probably logging in to their smartphones. The same is true for most of the office workers who just turn on their computers after first sitting at their desks each day. Even in the quite extreme case, these devices are likely able to determine the degree of our happiness, affect our moods and health, and contribute to the quality of life for the long-term. Humans have been too dependent on what they have created.
In the last decade, we have seen the power of social media. It has revolutionized the way people live and communicate their ideas every day. Again, people (from all different groups of age or position in society) have seemed to so much rely on the internet technology. People who post the pictures may want your “LIKES.” Artists who upload the videos may take into account the number of “VIEWS.” Researchers who publish their works may consider how many “CITES” on their papers. Even in the political realm, you see that Presidents want your “VOTES” for the election. It is very understandable that people want (or maybe need) your attention, support, and trust. People want to be influential, deep down in our hearts we want our stories to be heard (but perhaps not the shameful ones), and the happiness comes after knowing that others sincerely understand and appreciate us. However, I believe, ultimately what we are expected to do is to “SHARE” (probably that is why in the social media we could see the “share” button ☺)
We will shortly see the reasons. But here I am not going to talk about ‘sharing’ in terms of material, physical, or other valuable things (such as time or energy) as we all have already known that the willingness to share our possessions (money or property) to the needy can bring us happiness and will never impoverish us. Herein, the discussion would be more about the importance of sharing STORY to others.
Why is it important? I believe one reason is simply because people need information. We must have agreed that human primary needs in this generation are not merely food (what to eat), clothes (what to wear), and house (where to stay), but also… information (what to know). Therefore, as we are sharing the information, we are addressing people’s needs or perhaps answering people’s questions. Of course, what I mean here is the good information, not the bad ones. And the good information is often manifested as the knowledge of truth. The attitude of heart to seek for knowledge and hunger for truth is what makes the difference between the intelligent and the ignorant. The fact that successful people always share is undeniable. The more we share, the more we receive. (I am also speaking this to myself now!)
Now imagine you have a friend who suffers from a terrible disease but he does not know the medicine that can heal him. Yet at the same time, you are sure that you have the solution for his sickness. There are three possible reasons if you were not willing to share the good news about the medicine to him: (1) you are not really sure the medicine can truly heal him, (2) you do not really care about him, (3) you are expecting his death (maybe because he is your rival or enemy).
Here is how we now can understand what Jesus meant when he said to his disciples to go to all nations and spread the Gospel:
And then he (Jesus) told them (the disciples), “You are to go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere…” (Mark 16:15, TLB)
This so-called great commission is still relevant today. It is not a commandment to “christianize” the unbelievers, but it should be coming out of our natural response when we truly believe that Jesus is the “true medicine” or perfect healer for this broken world and only if we really care about the dying people around us. Could the development of information technology facilitate the fulfillment of Jesus’ command to his disciples in this generation? I believe so. As people all over the world can have access to internet, the truth of Gospel is reachable for everyone and therefore each individual ought to be responsible for seeking the truth oneself. People will not need to teach their neighbors or relatives (Hebrews 8:11) as everyone can consciously distinguish the good from the bad and the true from the false him/herself.
We are witness to everything around us every day, no matter what our professions are. Thank God, with the help of technology we now can share any information anytime anywhere easier than ever before. If we can share the good pictures, artists can share the good videos, scientists can share the good papers, governments can share the good programs or policies, then… ultimately, why not sharing the good news?
Vancouver, October 31, 2016