The Christmas music was reverberating through the streets. People were exuberantly pacing the town. Aromas of coffee, hot chocolate, and special foods wafted through the Winter air. Bundled up in warm clothes and ready for seasonal fun, thousands of people walked the streets of Saratoga Springs in what is known as the “Victorian Street Walk.”
Some vendors give food; others put on shows. Performers walk the streets and on occasion, stop walking to act or sing and draw a crowd. Santa was playing his saxophone. Some churches hand out tracts or materials. Our church handed out invitations to our Christmas Concert.
Two performers drew my attention: One was a large contemporary church with the music reverberating through the streets. Their performance consisted of a choir and several talented vocalists with live accompaniment music. They were singing many well-known Christian Christmas songs in addition to cheerful secular Christmas songs. It was loud. They were there. They had a presence to them. Standing in the freezing temperatures, thousands of people saw and heard them that night. They got their message across very effectively.
Then there was another talented act. Not many people were attracted to this performance. As I walked in search of some of our team, I noticed him. Standing behind a large pane of glass, in the warmth and comfort of a storefront, a man played the piano. He played some of the same songs as energetically as the others. He sang with the same or even better vocal quality. He was putting on a high-quality show – but no one was watching. He had a microphone with the sound system speakers blaring outside the store. He sang so well it sounded like a recording! However, as I peered from across the street, I observed no audience outside the storefront witnessing his performance. There were a couple of people inside cheering on the Man in the Window. But no one outside the storefront was engaged in his show.
I wonder. I suggest. It seems that many churches and Christians are like the Man in the Window. We have the right message and even some level of quality in our presentation but are not engaging the community outside the church. In many cases, we preach to ourselves and are not effectively reaching out. Engaging others, evangelism, outreach are hallmarks of biblical Christianity.
As Jesus sat at dinner in Luke 14, He tells a parable to those at the table. A rich man with great authority throws a feast with lots of terrific food, and he instructs his servants to invite many people to attend this feast. Specific invitees give various reasons why they cannot participate in the feast. Who doesn’t want good free food? Jesus even used the term “excuse.” A recent wedding. A newly acquired piece of property. One did not come because he just bought some cattle. After hearing all the excuses, the host commands his servants to, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23).
Very practical teaching from Jesus. God the Father is hosting the meal. The meal is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb of God in Heaven. The servants are the Christians of today. Each Christian must look at his life as being yielded to the Lord. The people invited to the feast are the people currently outside of the church. They are the ones God expects us to witness. He wants us to compel people to be saved. To encourage people to come to church. To invite them to come to salvation.
When Jesus came to earth, He came on a mission of mercy. A rescue mission to save us from our sins. God the Father gave His Son, giving us the greatest gift of all, Jesus. Jesus gave His life for us. He died, paying the price for our sins and rose again three days later, then ascended into Heaven. This Gospel message is beautiful. Christmas is all about Christ! And yet, most of the world does not know this. Will you engage others in authentic Christmas conversation, about Jesus?
Let’s not be like the Man in the Window. Many churches are having less and less people each week. The churches that are reaching out more effectively seem to have more and more people each week. Preach the Gospel. Keep encouraging the saints. Be equipped and challenged to reach out more.
Reach out. Invite others. Give Gospel tracts. Talk about Jesus. Tell others the true meaning of Christmas.
- Who will you personally invite to church to attend with you this week?
- Who will you talk to Jesus about this week?
- Who will give a Christmas Gospel tract to this week?
Don’t be like the Man in the Window.