Last year on my way to Christmas Eve service, I remember listening to the local Christian radio station while sipping on a cup of coffee and trying to clear my head of the typical Christmas commercialism onslaught. i was listening not necessarily for the "Christian" music, (I'm not a big fan of contemporary Christian music), but they were playing Christmas music all throughout December and being Christmas Eve, I was feeling festive. Everything just seemed right with the world and that nostalgic Christmas atmosphere filled my car as I drove. The sun was setting, casting an orange, red and purple aerial landscape that transported me to on of those peaceful moments that you wish you could bottle for later use. That was until the DJ made this comment. "You know, tonight you're going to see a lot of CEOs at church, Christmas and Easter only. Let's make sure that we put our best foot forward and make them feel at home. This may be the only time you run into these people, so let's show them what the love of Christ is all about."
Sounds OK at first, right? What's wrong with that? Well, just for a moment, I'd like you to think about that statement. Especially if you're a follower of Christ, think about these words. Imagine that you are not a follower of Christ. Imagine that you're one of these "CEOs", and on your way to church with your family. Imagine that you decide to tune into the local Christian radio station because you've heard someone at work talk about it. Imagine that you're a mom or dad, and beginning to think that you're family needs something more spiritual in their lives. You're not sure what, but you're looking. You've been thinking about church more and more, and the Christmas Season has been convicting your spirit just a bit more. The New Year is coming up, and you're going to finally start visiting some churches; maybe with some Christian friends that invited you. Maybe you and your family have drifted away from church for a while, and you've finally decided to give it another shot. You might be a little nervous, but before you even walk in the front door, you've been called out. You've been put on the spot. You just heard yourself labeled as a "CEO". That was YOU the DJ was talking about.You've wife gives you one of those looks. Your husband sighs and glances back at the kids in the back seat. Your teenager says, "So, I guess we're one of those CEOs, huh?" You're one of "those" people. And when you walk into church in a few minutes, you and your family are going to be on center stage. You'll get the red carpet treatment because you're one of "them". Are you going to have to wear a name tag that says CEO? You're not going to feel too self conscious, are you? Thinking of turning the car around and just going home?
You may have heard comments like this and didn't give it a second thought. I could have easily heard this and allowed it to go in one ear and out of the other. But for some reason, it caused me to pause and think about how the Church appears to the rest of the world. How do I appear to my non-Christian friends? What do they see from outside the walls of our buildings? What do they see in the neighborhoods, workplaces, homes and shopping centers? It caused me to stop and ask myself why we need to be reminded of things like this DJ referred to? Why does Christmas and Easter have to be when we "put our best foot forward"? Shouldn't we be doing this every day of the year? Should statements like this seem strange to our ears because it's a given for how we live our lives?
Don't get me wrong, Christmas and Easter are wonderful times of the year. In the Christian faith, they are considered holy days, and are times of conviction and reminding of what our faith is built on. But here's my point: If we put on a show for people on 2 specific days of the year, will they be disappointed in what they see the other 363 days of the year? Should they see something different? Something real? Should our celebrations be consistent or just pseudo-worship on the "promotion" days? Is this really showing them the love of Christ, or are we just performing to get the "CEOs" in the front door? Is this the kind of mindset that we should have toward those that are outside the doors of our church?
Yes, I believe 100% that as believers in Christ, we are called to share our faith with those that don't know the gospel. We are all called to be on mission and spread the Good News to the entire earth. But what does that mean in a real and practical way? Is it something we turn off and on, or is it something organic? Something we live 24/7 because it's who we are, not what we do? Is it something irresistible to others to the point that there is no question of who we serve and what our faith is all about?
If you are unfamiliar with the early New Testament Church, read the first few chapters of the book of Acts. The Church depicted in Acts 2 was a group of people that were "living" their faith in Jesus Christ. In Acts 2:42-47: "They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
These were people consumed by their faith in the risen Christ and could not contain it for one minute. They lived and breathed their faith in Christ. Yes, they preached the gospel and spoke truth to thousands of people, and the Bible tells us that thousands were coming to know Christ every day. It was literally an explosion of faith and the growth was astronomical. Truly, a revolution had begun in Jerusalem and the world would never be the same.
But this was not conditional. It was not a "one or the other" kind of thing. They were living an irresistible life that made others see that truth. Reality. Their words were backed up by their lives and actions. There were no "special" times to share the truth of Christ. It was Good News, not BS. There were no better times than others, because they were just living and sharing what they believed. No one told them to put their best foot forward when they walked outside, went to the Temple or market place. Both of their feet were the best and were always moving forward. They didn't see CEOs. They only saw people that they wanted to love as Christ loved them. The love they felt could not be contained. they loved because THEY were loved, not because they were told to love every once and a while.