Curtis RiskeyHow many of us have prayed, “Lord, help me see … ?” I think we pray for vision because there are so many distractions in our world and our lives, our vision becomes blurry. We start to see our circumstances, our businesses, and even the people around us through a lens of what’s in our heart or mind at the moment.

The danger is that this lens is often shaded by our own perceptions rather than pure truth. But what if we were able to view the world through the lens of God’s truth? How would this change the way we think about our work, and each other?

I’ve been challenged lately to think about how I view others, especially in my work within this industry. I can see how certain lenses have colored my perceptions and informed my decisions. What are your lenses?

It’s so easy to categorize people in order to determine their motivations. “Well, John’s a store owner, so he’s going to think this,” or “Jane’s a publisher, so she’s going to do that.” Then we plan our strategies around our perceptions of the category and, ultimately, what works best for us. The problem is that this causes us to think too small and put too much focus on our differences.

  • What’s best for Christian publishers?
  • What’s best for Christian retail stores?
  • What’s best for distributors?
  • What’s best for authors, artists, and content creators?

What would happen if we changed all the questions to just one: What’s best for “us”?How do we think beyond the categories to the whole industry?

Jesus broke down the categories. He didn’t see those He called to Himself as “Samaritan,” “fisherman,” or “tax collector.” He saw them all as “brother” or “sister.” He didn’t see their differences, but saw straight to their hearts.

What if we did the same thing with each other? If we obliterated the category perceptions and simply thought of each other as “us,” then “your” problem would become “our” problem, “their” solution “our” solution.

Such a simple shift in thinking from “me” to “we” could revolutionize our industry. Suddenly, we’re all a part of one another, one family, one Body.

How would that look, practically? Let me ask, for example: Who does the digital publishing trend affect most: authors, publishers, distributors, or retailers?

I’d suggest the answer is: all of the above.

So why does each category try to resolve the challenges alone? Doesn’t it make sense for us to come together, consider the impact of our challenges on everyone in the industry, and then collaborate on solutions? Won’t that make us stronger?

Satan knows one way to make us weak is to keep us focused on our differences and segmented into silos. But we show Jesus when we draw together and work as one body—because that’s what we are. Our industry is an ecosystem, and we’re interdependent on one another. None of us “owns” the body, or even the part that’s been entrusted to us. It all belongs to God, and we are merely stewards.

So let’s throw off our category lenses and disregard our preconceptions so we can see each other through God’s lens, and “work together for the truth” (3 John 8).

-Curtis Riskey