What kind of shopper are you? Are you a hunter….knowing exactly what you want before you go, setting out for the kill and getting back home before anyone knew you were gone? Or are you a reflective shopper? “Oh, I wonder how this would go with those pants at home….naaa….doesn’t fit quite right at the shoulders.” You go from store to store only to come home empty-handed. Maybe you’re a mix of these two types—the passive-aggressive shopper: You ARE going to come home with something to wear, but you just can’t decide what you want, so off you go….scooping up blouse after pants after dress after belt after shoes. “I can always return what I don’t want later,” you tell yourself while heading to your car with numb fingers and a crick in your shoulder. What kind of shopper are you?
Since the combinations are endless, let’s pretend that we are all window shoppers. We determine that we won’t go inside a store until something really fantastic catches our eye, even if we have to go from window to window, squinting at every last detail….as soon as we see that thing we can’t resist, we’ll go in and check it out! The truth is that we’ll probably choose to go into the store that most clearly displays their items: front, back, price tag showing, etc.
This is a little bit of the picture of living out the gospel of Christ. We’ve all heard the phrase, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one anyday.” So true, isn’t it? Jesus is the only One who can save the lost, but He draws unbelievers to us to do some “window shopping.” I used to think that, as Christians, we were the item underneath the bright light, and that we needed to be perfectly beautiful all the time, doing and saying all the “right” things. The truth is this: We are not the One on display---Jesus is----and our lives are the reflection of Him.
“We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.”
2 Corinthians 6:3 (NIV)
It is clear when we read this verse that the Lord wants us to keep His windows sparkling, so they’ll need to be squeegeed on a regular basis through the cleansing of the Holy Spirit. Why? Not so that Christianity will look pretty and perfect to everyone looking in….but so that it will be pure and unclouded to them. The verses that follow explain how we can present Christ clearly to others (I like the way “The Message” translates it):
“Our work as God’s servants gets validated-or not-in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly…in hard times, tough times, bad times…working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness and honest love; when we’re telling the truth, and when God’s showing His power; when we’re doing our best setting things right; when we’re praised, and when we’re blamed…ignored by the world, but recognized by God…immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy…having nothing, having it all.:” (Read 2 Corinthians 6:3 thru 10 to see the verse in its entirety, as I omitted some for space.)
If we make ourselves the object on display, we will fail miserably. If we make Him Front & Center of all that we do, then others may see Him clearly, which is the goal of any true window shopper, isn’t it? Let’s take the time right now to pore over these verses, asking Jesus to help our lives to reflect Him honorably. Ask Him to show us spots or smudges that we haven’t cleaned up or that have been unnoticed in the corner of our frames. The most awesome truth of all is that when we show off Christ in this way, some will be desperate to have Him too, no matter what kind of shopper they are. And when they walk inside, they will be delighted to possess this priceless Treasure, all the while, throwing their Discover Cards away…