Encouragement From The Word

Lining up to see Oprah?

In case you missed it, Toronto was met with its own ‘mania’ on Monday:  Oprah-mania!  People were lined up outside the Metro Convention Centre, winding around several corners in the core of downtown Toronto, for many hours before the popular talk show host came out on the stage.

Now, I and many other Christ-followers have profound issues with the syncretistic nature of a lot of what Oprah supports.  (Two of her gurus, Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle, teach things directly in opposition to the Christian faith.)  Much of what she purports looks very much like a spiritual buffet table.  You line up, get a plate, take a little bit of this and a little bit of that – all stuff that we enjoy and makes us comfortable, of course – and create your spiritual meal of niceties (no indigestion allowed).

All of this got me thinking, though:  we don’t see that kind of lineup outside churches, with people waiting for the doors to open to worship God and hear his Word expounded.  (To be fair, if there were only one church in the world, the lineup would be much longer than Oprah’s.)  If Jesus were to show up in town, what would the lineup be?  Would the crowd be enthusiastic?

There’s also a word of instruction for the church here.  What most struck me about that group of people lined up to see Oprah was their abject excitement at being in the same room with their hero.  How many of us, followers of Jesus, are excited when we gather together to worship the King of Kings?

Now, there are some of us who don’t get “excited” about much, just because that’s our personality.  But too many of us don’t show by our demeanour just how much our Saviour means to us.  Friedrich Nietzsche once said to Christians, “I will believe in your redeemer when your people look more redeemed.”

Can people tell that we are followers of Jesus?  Do followers of Oprah look more redeemed than we do?  Don’t feign your enthusiasm, but consider what the Lord has done for you, and respond as God has blessed you.  It can make a difference.

For you make me glad by your deeds, O Lord; I sing for joy at the works of your hands” (Psalm 92.4, NIV).