Friday, July 17, 2009

A thin veneer

The world is full of frauds.

Two bookcases stand side by side both with seemingly solid construction in gleaming oak. These are beautiful bookcases that will hold volumes of information. But distress them, scratch or chip them and the truth is revealed- one has only an oak veneer; hardwood over particleboard, symbol over substance.

You who represent yourself as a follower of Christ, if you get a little dented up, what is revealed as your underlying support structure?

And you especially, whose lives serve as a repository of God's truth, you who are leaders in your churches, are you genuine or merely a veneer?

We've witnessed it, sadly, way too often; the televangelist with the penchant for fine things and therefore creative bookkeeping, clergy involved in sex scandals, and those who say it's all about worship and God's glory but their actions reveal it's really about their ego as author, artist or performer.

I can entrust the keeping of mindless paperback drivel to the quality of a veneered bookcase. These are the "Don't worry, be happy" and "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" colloquialisms that abound in our society because if the people endorsing those collapse, little is lost.

But...but to those of us to whom God has entrusted the ministry of sharing His truth, we had better be genuine.
Perfect? No, because only God is perfect, but we must be real so that when distress comes our way it is revealed that we truly believe what we say we do. That the oak that gleams on the surface is also that truth that makes up the essence of who we are and is the foundation of our belief systems and thought patterns.

In many churches you’ll hear the pastor pray before they preach, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight." That prayer is not just for them, nor is it only for that hour on Sunday morning. If you are someone who offers words of prayer, praise, or instruction, this must also be your constant desire.
If it is revealed that you, who claim the name of Christ, are nothing more than an opportunist or a person just working a job, then the damage from your hypocrisy can be great.

Are you a speaker? If these words about Christ are not coming from the deepest part of your heart, talk about something else.
Are you a musician? If the lyrics you perform are not the cry of your heart, find other lyrics. Do not stand before people singing something you have no intention of doing and you don't ascribe too.

Do you seek praise for all the good works you do “in Christ’s name”? Then find a place in which you can get the applause you're seeking, but not in the place in which our focus is to be on glorifying God.

Have you worked in the church or "for the Lord" for years and years? Then be sure that what you do has not merely become the habit of your life but is still an outgrowth of your heart's desire to see the name of the Lord lifted up.
Don't say you'll pray for someone when what you really mean is that you wish them well.
Don't offer biblical advice if it's not something you would follow yourself.

The world is full of frauds.
If you are going to represent Christ, be genuine, through and through.
Let there more to you than just a thin venee

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