Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Living the Facade

Matthew 6: 2-4
So when you give to the needy,
do not announce it with trumpets,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets,
to be honored by others.
Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

But when you give to the needy,
do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
so that your giving may be in secret.
Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret,
will reward you.

Why I don’t make a big deal about every little thing that I do. I figure these verses aren’t just talking about giving money to the poor. It’s when I give my time or do something for anyone who needs it. Why I don’t post on Facebook every time I exercise or brush my teeth. However affirming it is to have friends compliment me or like my Facebook status, the only reward I want is from my Father in heaven.

Colossians 3:23-24
Whatever you do, do your work heartily,
as for the Lord rather than for men,
knowing that from the Lord
you will receive the reward of the inheritance.
It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

I never get to do what I want to do. I often selfishly think this to myself, however untrue it may be. I am so often doing things for other people: driving people places, washing and folding other people’s laundry, loading other people’s dishes in the dishwasher. To get to the root of the matter, I am doing these things by choice. Years ago I decided to get married and live with my wife for richer and poorer. We decided to have children, knowing little of the hardships and inconveniences that would come our way as a result of these decisions. Others made different decisions a long time ago, which have set up the life they now lead.  

From a distance my life may seem glamorous. Beautiful wife, good-looking homeschooled kids, nice job. House in the burbs, four cars in the garage, nice clothes, attend sporting events, take vacations at the beach. This is all a façade. Ceil may be beautiful, but she has struggles of her own. Our house is in need of major repairs, as do our high-mileage cars. Two cars were gifts and a third is ten years old. The bank owns the car with 90,000 miles on it. The kids need expensive glasses and braces and tuition. In-laws pay for the beach trip. We are graciously given football tickets, and I buy the dollar tickets at Braves games. My job requires long hours and involves stress. We live paycheck to paycheck. I buy my clothes at thrift stores. I know I’m not the only one.

Reminds me of the parable of the talents. God doesn’t give to everyone equally. He just wants us to use the gifts He gives us. I’d like to think I’m somewhat using God’s gifts to me. Others may be doing more and others may have more, though I see others I know not making the best decisions – literally throwing away what God has blessed them with. Do they feel guilty? Do they realize what they’re doing?

Unlike many in the world today, I’m not out to impress people. I may get to do things, some of which are fun. Some may see me doing these things and be jealous. They don’t see which things I’m doing by myself because no one wants to go with me. My life is not filled with close friends doing fun things of my choosing. There are reasons I’m not as active at church or with friends. My life is not a beer commercial. But I ain’t complaining. Though I often forget, my family is blessed beyond measure.

I do get to do SOME things I want to do. Sneak out to a Braves game. Play on the computer. Watch something on TV. Not everything I want to do, but some. There is so much more that I should do – but don’t. Help out more around the house. Exercise. Iron my shirts for work. Paint. Spent time with the kids. Take Ceil out on a date. Instead I make excuses why I don’t, or just sit around at night.

Sometimes I am jealous of others. Cool cars, cool clothes, cool jobs, cool families. Then I remember that perhaps their life is all façade as well. That car may be rented. They could be in debt. Things might not be so cheeky at home. Others aren’t in the same place as me. Even their façade isn’t as nice as mine. Perhaps for them the attention Facebook garners is a bigger deal. I shouldn’t begrudge them that.

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