This commercial always bugs me. Something about the phrasing of the commercial, “We can share every second… why would you cap that…I need to upload all of it…I have the right to be unlimited…” that reveals our narcissism. Not only are we focussed on ourselves but now the whole world needs to know. Don’t get me wrong, for as much negative that comes from social networking there is a balance of positive — I get that. But something about the attitude of that commercial that pushes my critical thinking: why does anyone have the right to publish everything all the time? why is our value only found in what people know about us? why do we think every moment is beautiful? is there value to privacy? isn’t learning about someone’s accomplishments/character/personality more than just a photo? is there value to secrecy?
We’ve been in a series on Matthew 5-7 each Sunday at our church. And I couldn’t help but notice how valuable secrecy is in our relationship with God. Yes, secrecy has its downsides — hiding sin or not acknowledging our Father before men. But it has a serious upside concerning our spiritual disciplines. When we give, pray, and fast (three among a variety of important pious practices) in secret then we protect ourselves from the false motivation of practicing our faith to be seen by men. And yes, our faith needs to be in the public square — Jesus had already instructed his followers let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and PRAISE YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, 5:16. But the motivation is directed towards God. We would do well to balance God-motivated public faith AND cultivate personal and private spiritual disciplines for Him.
After the shepherds came to visit Mary with the newly born king, the Bible says, But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. As you seek God — pray for people – in public, share your faith, be blessed with those shout-it-from-the-rooftop moments, practice generosity… pray when nobody knows, give simply to make God smile, allow God to reveal himself – to be pondered in private… fight self-promotion and find security in Him.