When talking with overseas workers (B4T’ers) in the 21st century, one topic that continually comes up among millennials is the desire for transparency. Because of the transparency of the internet millennials feel very uneasy about trying to maintain one identity in their host country and another in their home country. When I read the article, “Shrinking the Haystack” by the Economist the other day, I thought it widely applicable to believers.
Without writing about the whole article, because I encourage each of you to read it for yourselves, there is a central point they make that is crucial to understand for “field workers” everywhere. Because of new geo-tracking technologies, government agencies can now watch where people go and study their behavioral patterns. Terrorists tend to awkwardly try to hide their whereabouts by moving in seemingly random patterns and not taking phone calls near their residences, etc. (sadly, missionaries often do the same because they are afraid of being “caught” and “kicked out”). The problem for the terrorists is that psychologically the fact that they are acting strange tells the authorities they have something to hide. You see, people are predictable. They go to the same places and visit the same friends and take the same routes to and from work. When someone diverts from a normal pattern, there is a reason for it. Even if it is a good one, it still alerts the authorities that something is up. The point here is simple: if you act like you have something to hide, you probably have something to hide. As followers of Jesus, we have nothing to hide. We are told in Luke 8:16-18,
No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.
Jesus did not advocate hiding the very thing we are supposed to be proclaiming. If we move about in normal patterns and live predictably with nothing to hide, we will be more likely to make it for the long haul. Whether you live in Washington D.C., Washington State, or Timbuktu, this message is for you: read the gospel, read about the gospel, study the gospel, pray for more understanding of the gospel, talk about the gospel, but by all means: PROCLAIM the gospel!