By the time you read this editorial, our church’s Christmas musical, “The Better Batter” would have come to an end. We've been tempted to wonder, “Was it worth it?”. For a moment, Christmas was to us a finish line with answers to looming questions: how many people would come, would they enjoy the performance, would they understand the message, would minds be changed and hearts be moved? We're prone to calculate if these results at showtime justify the cost behind the scenes.
After all, it has been more than a year since the idea for the musical was born. Behind the scenes, countless hours were spent writing, dozens of drafts were binned, and months’ worth of weekends and weekdays of so many volunteer members have been invested. All this to tell an hour-long story. Was our service this Christmas worth it?
We believe so.
1. God did not short-change us.
Our journey producing this musical has been dotted with trials and doubt. As the work went on, what started as a conviction from God turned into toil. Reservations about our ability to direct a large group of volunteers effectively, our combined talent and skill to pull a challenging performance off, and the ultimate impact the musical would have on the audience crept into our minds.
In spite of this (or, in response to this), God showed us His Faithfulness up close. Song lines and lyrics that had stalled for weeks were miraculously supplied by the most uncanny people or situations — unmistakable divine inspiration from Him. Missing parts of the crew were filled by our spiritual brothers and sisters who had skill and effort we (and, in some cases, they themselves) never knew of. When sign-ups were slow and spirits were low, He lifted us at just the right time with words of encouragement from other Hermonites not privy to the circumstances. When we wondered if the musical would be effective in winning the audience for God, He showed us He had already begun His life-changing work — in ourselves and the crew around us. He truly established the work of our hands (Psalm 90:17). We may have planned our course, but it is the Lord who guides our steps (Proverbs 16:9). Behind the scenes, God was already at work supplying what we committed.
2. God’s economy deals in love.
In Hollywood, it goes without saying that the biggest productions result in the grandest performances. Behind the scenes, ambitious budgets naturally generate record-breaking box office sales. If we followed the world’s formula, given how much we collectively put in, how many filled seats, raised hands and Amens would be reasonable for us to expect?
Yet, we’ve come to see that God’s economy works differently. He is the Shepherd who, counting ninety-nine sheep in his flock, unhesitatingly searches for a single lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7). Jesus is God Himself who exchanged equality with God for servanthood to the extent of death, the Righteous condemned for the unrighteous (Philippians 2:6-11). Would not Christmas Day have happened still, had there been only a handful to save?
Should not His church spare no expense behind the scenes to turn even one listener to the Life-giving Word?
3. God’s story is the greatest story that will ever be told.
That first Christmas, an angel announced Jesus’ birth with these words, “I bring you good news of great joy” (Matthew 2:10-14), for unto us is born a child (Isaiah 9:6), the Saviour who is Christ the King. Israel waited centuries for the Messiah to deliver His people from oppression. The fathers of faith saw the promise of an eternity with God that was better than the afflictions they suffered on earth (Hebrews 11). In our heart of hearts, all the world is, what it can offer, is not good enough.
We are like wedding guests who have waited long for the arrival of the bridegroom. He has come (Matthew 9:14-17)! What a cause for celebration! What else could be worth going out of our way, breaking
-Lenard & Joy Cheng