The theater. Kids excitedly grasping their parent’s arm with one hand and clutching their candy in the other. Couples selfie-ing and hand holding as teen girls giggle and stare. A Lone Viewer in the middle row and middle seat so as to give the best critique after the last credit has rolled. The matted carpet reflects the excitement of occupants as its electric colors wind up and down the long hall. Small dull light bulbs line the aisle and flicker with every passerby. Oh the smell, that glorious smell! Buttered popcorn. My favorite!
I love going to the theater. Some may see a grungy, dirty place where bed bugs live, but I see a glamorous scene where cinematography history is made. People from all walks of life come here and, for a moment, have one thing in common – a movie. Crafted and labored over for years, the movie takes us to a new place. Our destination could make us scream in horror, bite our nails in suspense, cry our eyes out, or roll on the floor laughing (not recommended for those of you that only picture bed bugs in the theater).
I’ve been to the theater many, many times. I can only think of a handful of times that I didn’t get popcorn. I can think of every time that I didn’t get popcorn and regretted it. My friends tease me because I refuse to share popcorn. They know they’ve made it big with me when, in the middle of the movie, I tilt my popcorn bag over for them to grab some. I don’t know why that is, it’s just one of my many quirks.
It wasn’t until recently that a friend jokingly asked me why I don’t share my popcorn. Naturally, I answered like a toddler and said that I don’t like sharing in general! My friends and I all laughed about it, but later it got me thinking about all the other things I selfishly keep to myself. My money, my time, my house, my food; the list goes on and on. There was one specific item on this list, however, that especially disturbed me – my Faith.
I live out my faith every day. I pray, I know all the Hillsong United lyrics by heart, I’ve seen “God’s Not Dead” a hundred times (AND texted all my contacts at the end of the movie as instructed). I have done multiple Beth Moore studies and gone on several international and domestic mission trips.
With all this under my belt, why is it that when I am here in Oklahoma City, where I live, I fail to share my faith? All the things listed above are great! But when my faith falls short of lifting glory to God and proclaiming Him everywhere I go… what kind of a faith do I truly have?
The Bible is so very clear in sharing my faith. I fall short of excuses when I examine what is said in the Scriptures:
“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:8).
“And that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47).
“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” (Romans 10:14-15).
The evidence is stacked against me. I’ve neglected to share my faith, despite the direct instruction from the very One who saved my life.
I often live as though my faith is a background plot unfolding while I further my own kingdom. Much like the theater setting, I sit in life amid throngs of people from all different walks of life. I know what’s going to happen at the end of the movie – a glorious return of the Prince, the Bride is rescued and the villain is destroyed. All the while, the people seated to my side are living in anticipation for the next best part of the film. They don’t know the ending. Some desperately Google in vain for the ending and for answers, while some sit carelessly, hardly even appreciating the movie.
Life may not even out as a theater experience, but the truth remains. I walk through daily life, past people who are just barely hanging on, despite their efforts, and I hold a hope that could shake up their world in a glorious way – remaining silent. No, there must be more.
God, “stir my heart with a noble theme.” Let conviction lay heavy on me, and let me not miss a moment of this amazing plot you are unfolding! Show me who is on my left and on my right that I may share your glory! From popcorn to faith, give me kindness and conviction.