Have you noticed how easy it is for Christians to look for heroes? The moment someone in the public eye professes faith in Jesus the larger Christian community jumps all over it. We talk them up and we thank God that finally someone is speaking up for Jesus. Two recent examples are Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin, the former a NFL quarterback (the Bronco’s) and the later a NBA point guard (the Knicks). Now let me quickly get something out. I have no problem with either of these guys, at least as far as my knowledge of them goes. And I certainly do not have a problem with a Christian in the public eye professing his or her faith. What is interesting to me is how the larger Christian community tends to react in these situations.
The most common response I see is one of excitement that Jesus is getting some attention, moving into the public eye, through the courageous, bold confession of a celebrity. And yet, I can’t help but think that having that attitude lets us off the hook. Letting someone else put the spotlight on Jesus frees us from having to do so. We are the ones who should pull our culture’s attention to Jesus.
I can hear the response now. “But Jonathan, I’m not popular. I’m a nobody. If I profess Jesus no one stops to listen, no news paper is going to run the story, and I won’t make any ESPN broadcast.” And you’re right. You’re not a celebrity, and neither am I. I am pastor at a small church in a small town (which I love by the way!). But then again, I didn’t say, “you (singular) are the one to pull our culture’s attention to Jesus.” I said “we”. I am small and have relatively little influence on a national, and especially global scale. The church, however, is not small. There are Christians living in every city in our country, and in many (daily increasing!) people groups of the world. As an individual what you do will fly under most raiders. But as whole, as the community of faith, we are huge. When we profess Jesus, love our neighbor and share the gospel, no one can miss it. A unified Church living out the glorious truth of Jesus would be undeniable, unmistakable, and would command the attention of our culture.
I am thankful for well known Christians who use their platform to point people to Jesus. The simple truth, however, is that the Church commands perhaps the largest platform in the world. Unfortunately, we rarely step up to the mic. That doesn’t have to be the case. Your voice may be small, but when you step up to the mic in your neighborhood, at work, or at your kids play date you’re not speaking alone. When the ‘we’ of the church lift our voices in the unified chorus of Christ, the gospel will be heard and the world will take notice of Jesus.