Have you ever met a new parent or grandparent? They are almost always chomping at the bit to show you pictures. And it’s not just proud moms and granddads. All of us share, promote, and defend that which we value, worship, and love. The ability to “+1,” “like,” share, or RT a post, status, or article is only the newest way we do this. What we share is what we love. St. Augustine notes:
“In the theatre – that den of wickedness – someone who loves an actor and revels in his skill as if it were a great good, or even the supreme one, also loves all those who share his love, not on their account, but on account of the one they equally love. The more passionate he is in his love, the more he tries by whatever methods he can to make his hero loved by a greater number of people, and the more he desires to point him out to a greater number of people. If he sees someone unenthusiastic he rouses him with his praises as much as he can. If he finds anyone antagonistic, he violently hate that person’s hatred of his hero and goes all out to remove it by whatever methods he can.”
What a perfect description of how social media works. Whether what you love is a celebrity (as in Augustine’s example of a famous actor), an idea, or a product, the odds are you find ways to share this. The Christian word for this is evangelism.
Often, it seems that Christians are willing to share everything but the love we have for God. We put Apple stickers on our car, post about which team(s) we have winning the NCAA tournament, pin to our favorite crafts on Pinterest, or tell our neighbors about the great new fish recipe we just attempted. But talk about God? That’s only something those “crazy Christians” do.
Augustine would suggest this is precisely backwards:
“So what should we do in sharing the love of God, whose full enjoyment constitutes the happy life? It is God from whom all those who love him derive both their existence and their love; it is God who frees us from any fear that he can fail to satisfy anyone to whom he becomes known; it is God who wants himself to be loved, not in order to gain any reward for himself but to give to those who love him an eternal reward – namely himself, the object of their love.” (On Christian Teaching, Book One, p. 22)
Unlike Justin Bieber or a mobile phone company, the love of God is pure and self-less. God does not want us to buy anything, but only desires to give. God has no need of our love, but loves us enough to continually seek us out – the Hound of Heaven, as Francis Thompson named Him – purely out of a desire to give of Godself, the one pure, unchangeable, and fulfilling object of our love. If we really believe that God is the most true, good, and beautiful object of our love, how could we not share the Love to which all over loves point?
We share what we love. Whether the thing loved is a cause, a shoe brand, a song, or the Three-Yet-One God through Whom all things were made.
What, or Who, are you sharing today?