Be patient, wisdom still takes time
- Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4)
I suspect very few of you who are regular readers of this newsletter will know the answer to this question: “Who is Mr. Beast?” Beast (born Jimmy Donaldson) is remarkable in many ways, not the least of which is he’s one of—if not the—single most followed, subscribed, and downloaded YouTubers in the entire world. His statistics include: 130 million subscribers as of January 2023, half a dozen YouTube channels—Mr. Beast, Mr. Beast Gaming, Beast Reacts, MrBeast 2, Beast Philanthropy; along with several websites—ShopMrBeast, BeastPhilanthropy, MrBeastPhilanthropy shop, MrBeastBurger, MrBeastJobs, and Feastables. In 2020 alone, he raised $23 million for charity. Time magazine named him one of the world’s 100 most influential people. He’s estimated to have a net worth of $500 million. His YouTube videos have been downloaded many billions of times.
He will turn 25 in May. He was raised in an evangelical family.
But now, Beast has a problem. One of his good friends and collaborators, Chris Tyson, has decided he’s the wrong gender, and is transitioning. Why is this a problem? Because on YouTube, Beast will need to persuade his massive following to suspend their belief in Tyson’s former male persona—and follow him as a woman. What?
We can talk about the war in Ukraine, the utter chaos on our borders, the collapsing economy, Chinese hegemony, even the doddering “leader of the free world,” but stories like this are truly captivating. Ben Shapiro, describes the issue this way, “Chris Tyson is a member of the cast… a part of the ‘bro crew’ who is now becoming a woman. For fans of his, this sort of changes the dynamic.” Well, I guess.
This is the heart of the matter: only believers, resting in the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ, can hold on to hope and sanity in our time.
For the few of us who know better, and who have seen with our eyes how this all works out, we know we’re really not able to prevent the calamity that awaits us. Much as I am loathe to admit it, we’re presently at the mercy of those who dominate the news. Making jokes about it can—and often does—help. Retreating to our safe space is a possibility, but not to just stay there. Streaming old movies late at night is one option I personally enjoy, but the harsh reality persists. Are these the days of Elijah? Can we say? But, for me, this is the big issue: Too many young people today are simply dazed and helpless.
Another YouTube channel right now that’s growing popular is from Justin Awad. Justin Awad will go out into the streets of New York City and ask the people of Generation Z basic questions to see if they can answer them, and the results will frighten and amaze you. Even Jay Leno would have trouble believing how witless some have become.
Justin: “Do you know what the four directions on a compass are?”
Woman: “No sir”
Justin: “You have to guess”
Woman: “Left, right, up, down”
Heavy sigh… so much loss of intellect, values, and purpose.
Could this possibly be a contributor to the spontaneous violence trending right now? In Chicago over the last weekend, hundreds of teens—for little or no apparent provocation, ran rampant through downtown Chicago; looting, terrorizing, and beating helpless, unsuspecting victims caught off guard by the sudden crowd. A massive mob of rowdy teenagers clashed with cops near downtown Chicago’s Millennium Park on Saturday night, leaving two teens wounded and at least one bystander beaten. Elsewhere, in Louisville, Kentucky, five bank employees were shot and killed—by one of their own young fellow employees. The next weekend, four more died by gunfire… ten in a little over a week.
I am very burdened for the young men and women of today. Is it wrong to wonder if this generation, more than any other, needs the Gospel? Of course not. Not really. Every generation has needed the Gospel—without question. But, since you and I are living in this one, it’s hard to stem the tears, so impassioned are we by the immediacy of it. So, why does it seem we aren’t looking for hope in the places where God is working—patiently—until His patience is over and our time is up? This is the heart of the matter: only believers in the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ can find hope in the end of our time.
Speaking of hope, there’s something else I’ve been seeing on YouTube quite a bit lately. It’s from a ministry called Living Waters. Ray Comfort, (pictured) equipped with a camera and a microphone, selects young people at random, and using a technique similar to the “Socratic Method,” interviews them about what they believe and why. Then, he gently prods for their answers to questions about Jesus and their salvation. Gentle and patient conversational conversion is the best characterization I can use to describe these really touching and moving videos.
It’s all too common to bemoan the state of affairs we are living in now. Many will tell me—and they have—“I don’t know what to do,” or, “There’s nothing I can do about it.” By ourselves this is certainly true. Only the truly exceptional can be individual catalysts for change. Few become a Wilberforce, or a Gandhi. But for the many faithful, we can take hold of a force multiplier, and change will happen, one life at a time.
I read this in Adam Hardwood’s Christian Theology: Biblical, Historical, and Systematic,
“The first danger is immaturity. Helmut Thielicke uses the phrase theological puberty. Just as teenagers stand taller than their parents but remain under developed in certain emotional or physical traits, beginning theologians read weighty theological tomes yet remain underdeveloped in areas such as character, faithfulness, and love. A sizable gap exists between their intellectual understanding of doctrinal concepts and their personal experiences with a God of those doctrines. Perhaps this is one reason that scripture excludes recent converts from serving as overseers/elders in the church”. (1 Timothy 3:6).
For most, wisdom simply takes time… and effort. And, who knows? Maybe God will give us more. But what about now? What about the young and the lost?
Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? (Job 12:12)
Photo by Glen Hodson on Unsplash