“Think fast, shop now: save 40-60% on bed and bath closeouts”
“Activation Alert – Respond Now”
“Blood drive … mortgage payment due … 21% off ends tonight … campaign highlights … you’ve been chosen … last day … last day …”
Do you, like me, ever feel overwhelmed by the information overload coming our way over the internet, telephone, and mail?
Pastor Rene reminded us this weekend that when the Pharisees were trying to goad Jesus into saying something for which they could condemn Him, they asked which was the most important commandment.
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)
If I am to love God and my neighbor, I need to assess what drains my love. One of those drains is uncontrolled input overload. Rene said we live in such a media-saturated culture that we can actually suffer second-hand Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We are faced on every side with
- requests for financial support – political, social, faith-based
- images of horror in our world, far away and near
- knowledge of the many kinds of evil around us; and
- a myriad of advertisements, trying to get us to purchase more and more we don’t need, with money we may not have.
When I see an accident and can help, I am loving others. When faced with an unexpected interruption, I recognize it may be God’s direction to change my priorities that day. But there are things I can control. I’m making some changes so my energy for loving God and others can remain high.
- I’ve chosen to stop watching some television that isn’t helpful to my spirit
- I’ve just unsubscribed from a number of “good causes” because I can’t commit to all of them.
- I’ve unsubscribed from some shopping sites because I can waste a lot of time there. And
- I no longer read every email or every online post.
While I want to be aware of key world events, many of the above have nothing to do with the needs of others and more to do with stimulating my selfish desires, preying on guilt (“you should give to every worthy cause …”), or simply taking up time that could be more productive for the Kingdom. I don’t need to give mental real estate to everything that comes my way. A wise man encouraged us “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)
Lord, continue your work in progress in me. Help me to focus on you, to see the pain and agony in our world through your eyes. I desire to love you first so that I can then love others with the love you have poured into me.