The billboard alongside the highway in the desert made a not-so-surprising statement, but it made me think. 80% of advertising is forgotten within 24 hours. See you tomorrow. Singular pronouncements to buy a product or secure a service may be noticed for numerous reasons, but wait 24 hours, and all we usually hold onto is a vague recollection, if that. Increase the frequency and saturation of a message though, and the greater possibility of your message being caught is enhanced. Even more, create a need for your message, and again, interest is sparked and a relevant connection is made.
As believers, we have a message we need both to receive, and to give. Frequency and saturation definitely have their place in my learning the truth God has for me. God’s Word has been translated into multiple versions and paraphrased and amplified with clarifying study notes about words, places, and principles, and devotionals interspersed to bring further understanding, challenge, or encouragement. And we can read it at our desk, on our phone, or on another high tech mobile device. We have classes, studies, seminars, breakout sessions, teachers, pastors, and facilitators, and we can add numerous multimedia enhancements – all designed to prayerfully instruct in basic biblical truth. Churches are learning to be flexible in their scheduling, so opportunities to frequent and be saturated abound – especially if our personal want-to is reaching for the message and we are augmenting programmed learning with daily, or at least a few times a week, opening up the Bible on our own with a desire to hear the message from God Himself.
Need and relevance take the message still deeper. If I frequent the message and saturate my learning with it, I fill my head with biblical history, statements of doctrine, and a compilation of God’s characteristics and attributes along with some sense of the faith He wants us to live by and the moral compass He wants to govern our choices. But let your faith be challenged by crisis or tragedy, by the loud voices of our society and its values, or by the complexities of maintaining a sense of purpose balanced by the demands of daily living, and you will find yourself wanting an understanding of God and truth that is able to create foundation and direction, stability and clarity, and provide answers to the questions that gnaw at your thinking and emotions. The message must relate. Need demands such a relevance of the message if we are to continue to pursue the message. And we do have a God who is consistently and profoundly relevant, both for eternity, and for the very real days we live in.
And as we receive and go deeply with the message, God enables us too to give the message to still others – with both frequency and saturation as God leads in every interaction – but recognizing too that others will most want our message when their own need demands its relevance. That means we are called to both a sensitivity to God and a sensitivity to others. We must also deeply experience the reality of God’s relevant truth in our own lives in such a way that we don’t forget its message and we are compelled to be living, walking billboards proclaiming the truth of a real God for real people living in a very real world.