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Are you a Viewer or a Doer?

I saw a TV ad the other day that bothered me. It showed a teenager on a beautiful beach, on a perfect sunny day, with the waves crashing onto shore, holding up his phone and watching a TV show. The advertisement, although not a new concept, was that “Now you can take you shows with you wherever you go”. My first reaction to this ad was “Why would I go to the beach to watch my favorite show”?

You might never have put the words “viewer” and “doer” opposite each other, but let me explain what I mean.  Are you the kind of person who is passive by how you live your life, or active?  Here is an example: A person can be either entertainment-driven or celebration-driven.

In celebration, you are the doer of the act, but in entertainment, you are the receiver.

When we are entertainment-driven, we need to be constantly stimulated from the outside, but when we are celebration-driven we are motivated from the inside. Celebration centered living is active, while entertainment is passive as it constantly needs to be enthused.

Abraham Hechel said, “Entertainment has dulled our ability to be surprised”.

In entertainment, the thinking is done for you.  Have you ever noticed how popular news channels always have a panel of experts discussing the latest news issue. each trying to frame the world for you?

In celebration however, you are able to stand in wonder and contemplate the world for yourself, and come to your own conclusions.

Entertainment is based on moods, while celebration is rooted in personal conviction.

We change channels based on how we feel. If we are not being amused, we simply channel surf until our mood improves.

Why is it so important to be a doer versus a viewer?  Paul quoting Jesus puts it simply, “It ismoreblessed to givethan to receive.” (Acts 20:35).

Those who only receive (the viewers), never grow healthy as those who give (the doers). Celebration is giving yourself to the moment you are in, without the need for artificial stimulation. You can be in a place without really being in the moment.  Have you ever noticed when you are at a table with people who all have communication devices, every few moments, like a hive mind, they check out of the conversation and begin swiping and typing on their device.  I’ll admit, I have done it!  Have we lost the ability to become captivated with each other?  Has our addiction to being viewers robbed us of the ability to sit across from each other with rapt attention?

Unfortunately the viewer will have nothing to hold onto during the storms of life except the media they escape into. Since being passively driven undermines introspection, there is never any personal confrontation with self that would bring healing.

Entertainment can become like a drug that numbs the soul, but never confronts life’s ups and downs with celebration. This becomes no different than escaping into a bottle or a  cigarette. All serve a specific purpose: flight.

According to Martiga Lohn , “The average American adult watches a shocking amount of television: 26 to 30 hours a week, or roughly four hours a day”. This is a scary statistic because it shows how we can all be lulled into passivity by the soft glow of a television set.

But then there is the option of choosing to smell the proverbial roses of life. That is the “doer” crowd who chooses to be motivated from the heart, not the eye.

At the heart of celebration is a contentment that says, “I will live in every moment, taking life as it comes”. Although a celebrative heart can engage media, they are always grounded in the reality that their source is in God, not some square on the wall that produces images.

 “All my springs are in you.” Psalm 87:7