by Dan Balow
Today I stand in support of medium stuff.
There is no argument that big important things deserve our undivided attention. There seems to be some disagreement over small stuff…do we sweat it or not? According to the Stan Jantz and Bruce Bickel’s book, God is in the Small Stuff, we probably need to be paying close attention to those things.
I am concerned with those things in the middle…the medium stuff. There are no books or seminars on medium stuff. In fact, if there were books and seminars on medium stuff, no one would buy or attend. That’s the problem with medium stuff, it’s boring.
In an automobile wheel, there is the “big stuff” tire, which gets all the glory and has blimps named for it and TV commercials touting it’s virtues and then there is the air inside the tire (small stuff) which is checked frequently to make sure it is doing OK and there is just the right amount of it. (Air actually has it’s own alarm light in newer cars, making it think it is really big stuff)
But it is the medium stuff…the axle and rim without which a wheel is not a wheel.
For people, businesses and ministries, focusing only on small details can be distracting or at best counter-productive. In publishing, this could be comparable to thinking that if the grammar in a manuscript were correct, it will sell well.
Likewise, big stuff can be made our focal point to such an extent that we forget the small things. Like a great book (big stuff) released without proofreading (small stuff).
The medium stuff is the fabric that keeps it all together.
It’s the printing press that prints the books. It’s the truck that carries large barrels of ink to the printer. It’s the chemical plant that manufactures ink. It’s the paper plant that manufactures the paper for books. It’s the computer servers in who-knows-where that send eBook files to anywhere on the planet. It’s the metadata coordinator entering information into the spreadsheet and uploading to customer computers. It’s the book buyer for a retailer or reseller who makes a decision to purchase a book for the store.
These are medium things. No fanfare. They are just there, making things happen.
Editors are medium stuff. They might get a mention in an acknowledgement page, but no parades.
So what is my purpose today with this tribute to medium stuff?
I was thinking of some ministries and those friends who work for them. Ministries like Media Associates International (littworld.org) who organize training and mentoring for Christian publishers around the world. Or Mission Aviation Fellowship (maf.org) who fly people and supplies to places to do ministry. Or ESL teachers living in China and rights and licensing professionals orchestrating publishing of content from one language to another.
Medium stuff. It takes their commitment behind the scenes to make something better. Like Aaron and Hur holding up Moses’ arms.
A problem for medium stuff ministries is they don’t get the financial support as much as the big stuff. Training, education, transportation and logistics aren’t very glamorous pursuits.
So, for all those medium things in the world, I honor you today.
Okay, medium stuff, stop reading this blog and get back to work, you are important and we can’t live without you.