Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Deceptively pretty

In the sunlight our house looks so inviting, almost beautiful. The garden is green and lush with large banana trees and bougainvilleas tree that are blooming. There is a curved walkway up to the house and potted plants and yard artifacts are scattered around. The facade of the house is painted a warm orange/yellow color and the door is dark wood. On one entire wall facing the garden we have these large, almost cathedral like windows, that go from almost bottom to almost top. Inside we have hardwood floor, and dark marble type tile, stainless steel counter top on the bar style counter into the kitchen, we have original art works on our green walls, and there are some antique pieces of furniture mixed in with the new to create a nice eclectic blend. From the outside, in the sunshine this is a pretty house.

But if you look a little closer, if you check in the corners, lift up the rugs, move the furniture, and open doors, there is a very different picture. The windows are almost falling out because the window frames are rotten, our floors have large holes caused by water damage, the termites leave their calling cards for us every morning, the couch is falling apart, the chairs are wiggly, our green walls are stained by the water leaks from the roof, we can see the sun light through the ceiling in the kitchen, and some rooms are just not even worth opening the door to. It is very deceptive and disappointing to see the true condition of the house. And if nothing is done to the correct these problems, the house will continue to decay and may even become uninhabitable.

Isn't that how I present myself to the world? Perfect, appearing to have it all together? I reflect on how much time I spend on the outer appearance of myself, our home, the boys, my family – yet what is the condition on the inside? My priorities are clearly skewed in the wrong direction when I focus on the outside and neglect the heart and soul, the inside.
Sweeping the floors of our little Honduran home, it was so clear to me that I need to change my focus. God, ever so gently, reminded me to spend my time on the inside, studying His word, praying, reflecting on His teaching, serving others, and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, and not worrying so much about the outwards appearance. Then I would be able to stand up to the scrutiny of others, and a living witness of Christ love in this dark world. My house would look pretty on the outside because the inside was well taken care of.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisees! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Mt 23:25-26

My prayer: May I spend the time cleaning the inside of my cup and dish….

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