This week, Kanye West released his latest offering called The Life of Pablo. It was a tangled release full of delays, promises, and then eventually only available to stream on the music streaming platform Tidal. But here’s where it gets really weird.
On Saturday, Kanye took to Twitter to say that he was $53 million in personal debt, asking his followers to pray that we overcome. Then he propositioned Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg personally through Twitter to “invest 1 billion dollars into Kanye West ideas after realizing he is the greatest living artist and greatest artist of all time.” He went onto say, “Mark Zuckerberg I know it’s your bday but can you please call me by 2mrw… World, please tweet, FaceTime, Facebook, instagram, whatever you gotta do to get Mark to support me…”
And the world breathed a collective, “Really?!?!”
If you, like Kanye, are wondering how to get out of debt, let me just tell you now that there are 101 ways I would suggest trying before something like this. From Kanye’s perspective, he is an artist of such importance and magnitude that he can justifiably become a burden on anyone else for the sake of his art. And that’s part of why we don’t like it. Regardless of what you like or don’t like about Kanye, there’s part of most of us that thinks he’s got enough money, enough fame, enough talent, enough whatever to not be a burden to anyone else. He can and he should be entirely self-sufficient.
Such is the case with the way we look at ourselves and others, because no one wants to be, and no one likes someone else to be, a burden. We might not have nearly as much money, influence, or talent as Kanye West, but we’ve got enough. We have plenty to be self-sufficient, and our pride tells us that we ought to be fine on our own, independent of the need of someone else. We don’t want to be like Kanye, who despite all his resources, has willingly become a burden to others.
That philosophy might make us good citizens in the world, but there is a deeply theological issue with it. The fact is that I was created to be a burden to others… and so were you. That’s because it’s hard-wired into our DNA to need and relate to others. As God in the very beginning breathed life into man, the most unique piece of all His creation, He noted this need:
“It is not good for the man to be alone…” (Gen. 2:18).
When the single man was created, something was lacking. That is, man was created with a unique need, capacity, and desire for community. We were not meant to be alone. The same thing applies today.
God’s grace in our lives works on an individual basis. We don’t get “grandfathered” into right relationship with God. That comes individually by grace alone through faith alone. But just because we were individually saved doesn’t mean that we were the only individuals saved. God has been for all time building a people for Himself – a community of faith which will live in fellowship with Him forever.
Charles Spurgeon reflected on this reality like this: “Some Christians try to go to heaven alone, in solitude. But believers are not compared to bears or lions or other animals that wander alone. Those who belong to Christ are sheep in this respect, that they love to get together. Sheep go in flocks, and so do God’s people.
It is indeed not good for us to be alone, for we were created with a unique capacity and need for community with each other. Far from the attitude of extreme independence, the one that says that we want to take care of and look after ourselves for as long as we can, and as soon as we become burdensome to another, we’d just assumed die, stands the biblical truth. We are all designed to be a burden to others.
So we can roll our eyes at Kanye all we want. I don’t have a problem with doing so. But as we do, let’s make sure our shoulders are broadened for all those who will come into our path today who need us. And let’s not be so prideful as to assume that we won’t be returning the favor. For this is the true life of faith, not lived in isolation, but lived together, whereby we depend on each other even as we trust in Jesus Himself to give us the very daily bread we need.