Spectating is a national pastime.
We have phrases that prove this:
We spectate at so many things. We watch sports on tv. We regularly attend shows, sporting events, theatre productions, and so much more.
And, here’s what all of us do, both during and afterwards: We critique.
How was the show?
What did you like about it?
What didn’t you like?
Should I go see it? Why?
Why is this team losing the baseball game? What is the pitcher doing wrong?
On and on and on.
Now, I don’t find anything particularly wrong with us critiquing when we are enjoying entertainment. We’re typically not hurting anyone and we are simply giving opinions.
But, I have noticed a trend of spectatorship that has gone much deeper than entertainment.
I have seen too many people being spectators of life.
While so many things are going on, while the world is constantly changing, while there is so much to be done, people remain comfortable, sitting on the sidelines of life, watching, and never participating.
And, here’s the problem: the spectator’s chair of life is one that always leads to a life of unhealthy critiques and demeaning judgments, one which never helps anyone improve or make things better.
There’s an interesting story that I’ve read plenty of times, but only recently noticed what I’m talking about in this post. King David was bringing the ark (which was the symbol of God’s presence with his people Israel) into Jerusalem. While doing so, an interesting thing happened. This is found in 2 Samuel 6:14-16.
14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment. 15 So David and all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and the blowing of rams’ horns. 16 But as the Ark of the Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him.
David was dancing with joy.
People were shouting with joy.
And they even brought out the ram’s horns for the celebration!
And notice this, in verse 15, it says “all the people of Israel” were with David doing this.
Except for one.
I love the picture this story gives us of Michal, David’s wife. She was looking down from her window.
This is the spectator’s stance: One who is positioned (at least in their own minds) high above everyone else, looking down on their idiocy, their craziness, their stupidity, despising them for what they are doing.
Could you imagine what would have happened if she would have joined the dance?
Later on, David had a conversation with her about her wrong attitude. It didn’t go well. In fact, the end result was that Michal remained childless the rest of her life (verse 23).
I see that happening with so many people today. They sit on the sidelines…of life, of the church, of experiences, and so much more. And, as a result of their own critiques, they are so filled with hate and disgust that they end up living life “barren”.
Barren of joy, excitement, life, love, and so much more.
This post today is a call: Step into life, join the dance, be a part of the party, experience all that God has for you. Do NOT sit anymore on the sidelines of life.
There is too much at stake.