In one of William Shakespeare’s famous passages, he declared that all the world was a stage and that we as individuals are the players on that stage. Within that thought I find both an incredible truth and an incredible danger as it applies to we who count ourselves as followers of Christ.
The incredible truth we can take away is that we are on stage, all the time. People are forever watching us. Those curious about Christianity watch in a sort of curious wonder, trying to determine if Christianity might be what they’ve been looking for. Those more cynical folks who turn their noses up at the mere mention of Jesus watch us constantly in hopes of pointing out our every flaw or misstep. Regardless of why people watch our lives, the fact remains that they do indeed watch. This is a tremendous responsibility. There are no days off, no moments to catch our breath; we are on stage, on camera, on the spot, 24/7. There is no doubt this is an exhausting fact, but this is how Jesus lived and so too those of us who aspire to follow in His footsteps. At any given moment, our actions are impacting someone, either for the good or for the bad. Life is not a play, it is brutal reality; there is no rehearsal. Many seem to look at Sunday as the day of the show, and then take the rest of the week off.
The incredible danger in the passage of Shakespeare is that we as Christians take our role as “players” on the stage too literally. We have a role to live, not a role to play. As Christians, authenticity is an absolute must for our lives. Those who would go through life preening and posing for an audience not only are destined to fall themselves, but may bring countless souls down with them. Simply acting out Christianity without truly living its principles, does more damage than if we would simply act like the abhorrent, sinful losers that we are. Jesus had harsh words for the Pharisees of his day, and I believe those words should still ring loudly in our ears.
Considering yourself to be on stage may be a new concept to some, terrifying to others. Despite what you may believe or even want to believe, people are watching you, all the time. How will we respond, how will we prepare for this greatest role in history? Will we simply trudge through life without joy, showing only moments of brilliance? Or will we shine each day with the incredible love of Christ bursting from within? To be like Jesus we must be ever loving, ever compassionate, ever willing to help our neighbor. Don’t let the bright lights of the stage intimidate you; shine right back with the limitless love of Christ.