On Wednesday’s Radio 4 Thought for the Day, Rhidian Brook was talking about who we are influenced by. He wanted to distance himself from the ‘influencers’ who crave fame and fortune by ‘being themselves’ on social media, and who are richly rewarded by the sales they generate through their engaging self-publicity of self-expressed self-indulgence.
Rhidian wasn’t satisfied by this, instead looking to an altogether more enduring influencer from back before the dark ages – The First Century (and it’s worth noting that it was His influence led to it being called the 1st Century— there were many previous ones). In that counter-culture way that is oddly comforting, instead of calling us to ‘be ourselves’, He calls us to deny ourselves, to put things we cherish second, to lose our life so that we may truly Live.
Or is that too hard, too radical, too self-effacing?
I suppose we could shut him in a book for special occasions or tuck him up in a manger for Christmas.
But what if we were to take him out of the manger, open the book, and see him not as a 1st Century Influencer, but as a 21st Century influencer who has something of vital importance to say to us today?
Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Mat 10:39