News Aficionados

If anyone speaks, let it be as it were the very words of God. If anyone serves, let it be as of the strength which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11 WEB)

I left the mainland for Asia and then Europe over thirty years ago. It’s been one adventure after another. I’ve seen things I never imagined. I’ve visited places I never thought I’d visit. Gallivanting here and there you develop a whole new outlook on the world.

My small town view of the world expanded as I met other cultures, learned other languages, and choked down strange unknown foods. Another strange transformation began to take place. I’m sure it’s part of my character but I discovered it watching my wife. She has developed into a news aficionado over the years.

2010_04_11_odd-003What is a news aficionado? It’s someone with an expanded world view. Growing up we were both content with local news sources. The local paper, local radio, local TV all brought us the top, earth shattering, important news events from our town and the world. At least we thought it was from the world.

I’m not a newsaholic like my wife. She could watch news almost all day, read the paper, go to news online and be very content. I’m overloaded after reading the headlines when my browser opens each morning. But, whether with a lot or little news we both have been impacted with news aficionado status.

We didn’t realize this until we were back in our homeland after years overseas. We turned on the TV, no cable, and tuned into the local stations. Four channels seemed enough for our meager needs. The hour came, the banners were displayed, the staff were introduced and the news began.

Floods in a local neighborhood, crime in the local neighborhood, corruption in the local neighborhood, weather and coming events all were centered on the local region. One or two stories gave lip service to news and events from other regions of the state. One or two mentions were made of something from another country. We tried news from all four stations. The same. The world didn’t exist, except in small drops, outside the local area.

We were starving to hear about other world shattering events. The local stations weren’t going to satisfy that need. We then turned to newspapers.

We walked to the nearby news stand. Five papers. There were four local and one “international” paper which mostly contained US news and events. I’m beginning to understand why we had such a small view of the world as we grow up.

I must admit I don’t trust news people any further than I can throw them. Everyone reporting news, no matter what culture, language, nationality, political party, or faith reports news with their own slant. But, at least, it gives us something to work with to see what is happening in the world. It gives us a glimpse into how God’s creation is getting along without Him.

I don’t mean God is gone. I mean most of the world ignores God and tries to do things on their own. In our Bible Belt society, at least where I grew up, we often have a poor perception of the great dichotomy  between the nations and God.

Folks around the world are not filling churches, singing praise songs, and wearing the latest fashions on Sunday morning. In most lands there aren’t churches on every other corner vying for the tallest steeple and most impressive facade.

Call me a news aficionado. I called my wife a news aficionado. She didn’t like it at first but I think she’s warming up to the idea that it isn’t such a bad trait after all. I want to know the needs and conditions where I live. I also want to know what is happening in the world. Not to analyze the methods or motives of world leaders but to see the needs.

Once I know the needs I can pray effectively. Once I know the needs I can minister, where I live, effectively. Once I look beyond the horizon of my front porch, or the borders of my city limits, I understand more why Jesus said to the Galileans, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NET.)

Jesus lifted my burdens and placed his yoke on my shoulders. I understand, once more, why God called us to minister to the nations. I feel Jesus’ compassion to bring the message of salvation to the world. I pray that we, as Christians, take the time to expand our vision, learn more of the need in God’s world and do what we can.

Pray always. Go if we are called. Give as we are inspired. Teach our children. Learn from his word, the Holy Spirit and others. Do your work, whatever it may be, to the glory of God that his name is praised in the streets. Not just here, in our own backyard, but also with a vision for the world.

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