What Do We Look Like?

For the first time in 24 years, The Christian Chronicle has started to re-design it’s newspaper “look”. Some of the changes include taller & thinner pages and new style headline & text fonts. Like anything that introduces change, there are people who do not like the new changes. One such person’s opinion concerning the masthead was featured in the letters to the editor. The gentleman says that he is disappointed in the new look because the word ‘Christian’ has been made smaller and the word ‘Chronicle’ has been made quite large. His concern is that this change implies the focus of the paper has shifted away from Christ. As this may seem like a ridiculous thought to some of us, the man makes a statement that “the optics leave a powerful negative impression of the new design” and, unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that this man is correct. Not necessarily about the intentions of the paper’s masthead, but about the idea that something’s outward appearance makes man judge its intention.

This is common in our everyday lives. We as people make judgements on things based on how they appear to us. Is that wrong? No. That is how we know what to do or where to go. However, within the church body, our outward appearance is vital to how fellow Christians & the community the church is in judges the church’s intentions. People see how much time the elders spend on spiritual matters of the church. People see whether or not the ministers are addressing the spiritual matters in the church. People see if the ministers and deacons are serving. People see the relationship between brethren. People see whether or not a church is effective in its community. People see and then pass a judgment on the church’s intentions. Unfortunately, most people see the church “just trying to make it.”

When Jesus speaks the parable of the tenants in Matthew 21, he warns about the intentions of those tending the vineyard, for they wanted to keep the fruit for themselves. This led them to become people they were never intended to be, and Jesus said, 

“Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.”

As we go into this week, we should look at our outward appearance and ask ourselves, “What do we look like?” because we either look like the church of Christ or we look like the church of man.