Be Interested

Written by Devon Bowman 

“There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person.” –G. K. Chesterton

When I came across this paragraph it really struck me. What would our world be like if we treated everything as if it were interesting? 

Let us look at four areas that have been neglected by our society and explore what would happen if we gave them the attention they deserved.

The Past

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” –L. P. Hartley

The past is strange and different but it is far from irrelevant. Normally, when I tell people that I thoroughly enjoy learning history it is met with a similar reply, “History is boring.” A way to interpret this is “history isn’t interesting,” at least not compared to today. But look at what we see in history: people just like us accomplishing amazing feats, surviving unimaginable tragedy, and making the world a better place for those around them. 

When we allow ourselves to look at the past with interest we will see it is a fascinating place. We will find that the situations that they found themselves in are much more similar to things we are going through today than we realize. Many times if we are honest we can take on the mindset that we are the only people who have gone through what we are experiencing. However, being interested in the past helps us see that throughout wars, famines, pandemics, societal strife, government action, and cultural decay people have made it through. We can draw strength and confidence from this. 


Character limits. Short 30 second videos. Clickbait titles for articles that say rile up emotions but say almost nothing of substance. These are the main ways that we learn and absorb information in 2022. We want it quick, simple, and easy but the question remains do we really understand when we absorb information that way? 

When people I talk to say they do not read it is normally for one of two reasons. They either  claim to not have enough time, or say they do not like to read. 

The first objection is much simpler to deal with. Our tendency to spend hours of our week scrolling on our social media drug of choice betrays our claim to a lack of free time. For those who do truly have a busy schedule with very limited free time I always say that if you can give 15 minutes a day to focused reading you will read much more than you realize. At that small fraction of time per day you would finish around one book per month or more. This approach makes book reading more attainable to say the least. 

On the second object this is a bit more difficult. On this side I will tell you a story. My mom was always one of the people who would give me the objection that she did not enjoy reading. My response was this: you are reading the wrong books. The beauty of books is there are books about any subject you could ever desire. Books on cooking, gardening, cars, economics, politics, stories, theology, leadership, and the list goes on and on. If you start with a subject that captures your interest, soon an interest in reading itself will follow. 

One of the biggest benefits of reading a book compared to reading a Facebook post on the same subject is the ability to treat it as if it is truly an interesting subject. We can treat it with the depth that it deserves. Anything worth knowing about we will not be able to exhaust in 30 seconds. If it means something it deserves our time and effort in diving deep through reading. An overlooked benefit of reading is an ability to not easily be deceived by the newest thing we hear. I think a quote by C.S. Lewis explains this perfectly. A “man who has lived in many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village: the scholar (reader) has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age.” 

Other People

I believe there is a long lost habit in our culture that was formerly a guilty pleasure of many. That habit is people watching. Now, that might seem like a strange thing to say, but the fact that we no longer watch people displays such a great change in our society. When we would wait for a friend to show up to lunch we would sit down and look around us. We would admire the elderly couple that seem more in love than ever after 60 years together. We would smile at the two year old's newest discovery of spaghetti and meatballs and the ability to rub the sauce over every part of his body. Our attention would be focused on the waitress who somehow balances a tray with 10 drinks on top wondering how she could do this feat. Today we trade that for a screen. People are no longer interesting compared to Tik Tok. 

How we kill just a few minutes waiting for an appointment may seem trivial but our focus has shifted. We know what it looks like to see a group of people meeting for dinner and every person is using their phone. We treat those around us as if they are not interesting. The consequences of this are far reaching for our families, churches, and our nations. We can be in the same room and yet further away than ever. Grandchildren have never heard the stories of how their grandparents grew up. Church members have no idea that their testimony is the same as their neighbors. Divisions in culture and politics make the other side seem as they are not people deserving of love and respect but opponents to be destroyed at any cost. 

What would happen if we were truly interested in those around us? I believe that, if we enacted this, we would see families grow closer and deeper in love. We would see churches that are truly a community and not just strangers sitting for a sermon and not living life together. Our nation could deal with disagreements as people, not as talking heads trying to one up the other. The disagreements may still be there, but when we are interested in a person in front of us we treat them differently than we do through a keyboard. 

A verse that displays this perfectly is John 13:35. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” I think that it would be fair to say that if we are not interested in a person, you do not love them. So let us be interested in other people. 

Our Faith

Are we interested in our faith? I know this question may seem crazy. The response may be, how can you profess to have faith and not be interested in it? I absolutely agree with that sentiment because I see there are a large group of people that does just that. We say that we believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, we believe that the Gospel is true–and yet we are prayerless, have closed Bibles, and sacrifice nothing for the cause of Christ. Do these things add up?

I think that this issue is so important because we have a tendency to deny the reality of what we care about. If we have deep desires to serve the Lord and give him our lives then we will have our full interest in the things of God. We will want to learn more about who our God is. We will want to know His character, we will desire the stories of His faithfulness to His people, and we will be fully engaged and interested in the community He has given us, the church. 

If we give our attention to our faith we will find a fullness of life that we have never experienced before. We will see the fruits of the Spirit more active in our lives. The purpose of our lives that seem to be so fleeting and indiscernible will be a concrete reality set before us. God is worthy of our interest and our lives! 

My challenge to us today is this: In a disinterested culture let us be an interested people. May we not neglect the past, books, people around us, and, most importantly, our faith.

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