My wife and I watched Lincoln a few days ago. Wow. It blew me away. The cinematography was awe-inspiring. The acting was captivating. The story was powerful. I can see why Daniel Day-Lewis (an actor with almost the perfect name) won the Oscar for Best Performance.
As the screen went black and the credits began to scroll up the screen to the tune of epic music, I looked at my wife and said, “Wow. Abraham Lincoln sure was a powerful leader – full of integrity and character. Talk about a man that made a difference in the world. Daniel Day-Lewis did a great job of capturing the essence of a great man.”
It’s ironic to me that Daniel Day-Lewis won all the awards, and the only thing that Abe won was assassination. But this post isn’t about Lincoln or Daniel Day-Lewis or movies – this post is about acting.
Acting is powerful. It takes a special skill to capture the essence of someone. The best actors are so believable that you almost think they are the very person the story is about. Like Lincoln – it is almost like Daniel Day-Lewis made the difference in the world and freed slaves.
But he didn’t.
The danger with acting is that we can fall under the illusion that we are making a difference in the world, and yet we aren’t making a difference in the world. When Daniel Day-Lewis frees slaves, Liam Neeson kills human traffickers, or Ben Affleck frees hostages – they are acting like heroes.
If you watch the Oscars, you will see a bunch of celebrities being awarded for acting. Not doing. Acting. Daniel Day-Lewis was a good representation of Lincoln, but he wasn’t Lincoln.
I’m starting to wonder if Christianity is just another example of the Oscars. While a few heroes are doing the real, dirty work of faith – the multitudes are acting. I wonder if we, as Christians, had an award show (I’m not talking about the Dove Awards), if I’d be up on stage accepting an award for “Best Performance?”
“And the winner for Best Performance of a Christian in 2013 is… Daniel Ryan Day!”
Cheers. Applause. Standing ovation.
“Thank you all very much. Wow! I can’t believe I’m up here. What a ride. These trophies are a lot heavier than they look.”
But God doesn’t care about my acting. God cares about my heart. He doesn’t care if I’ve convinced other people that I’m a Christian. He knows if I am or not. He doesn’t care if I spend hours in coffee shops talking about Jesus. He knows if I lived it out in my life. Because acting is not doing.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Matthew 7