August 30th, Boats, Booze, and Battery don’t bring you happiness.

Matthew 23:27-32


Jesus said,
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside,
but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.
Even so, on the outside you appear righteous,
but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You build the tombs of the prophets
and adorn the memorials of the righteous, 
and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors,
we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’
Thus you bear witness against yourselves
that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets;
now fill up what your ancestors measured out!”

I am back.  It’s been a crazy busy summer.  Reading and reflecting on God’s word is an everyday thing for me.  Writing a reflection, well that does take a little more time, and when one has kids, a house to take care of, a yard to mow, grandkids to play with, sometimes a guy just has to prioritize.  That’s not far to you two or three readers I know, and I am sorry.

There’s an old saying, it’s not whats on the outside that matters, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.  We’ve all heard it.  We’ve all been guilty of judging someone based on looks.  We all know someone who appears to be happy and living the “American dream”.  A brand new boat in the driveway, a new car every year, nice clothes, etc. etc.  Everything looks great.  But what you don’t see on the inside is that they are such deep debt that bankruptcy is in their future.  They are so unhappy with themselves that they spend money to “feel happy”.  This momentary high masks the pain for a few minutes but the financial burden that they now have incurred, only adds to their stress and unhappiness.  It’s perhaps is creating problems in their marriage which only leads to more unhappiness.  What seems to be happiness and prosperity on the outside, is really pain and suffering on the inside.

Christianity doesn’t gain any credibility, but in fact loses credibility when any of it’s leaders is found to have been living a life of grave sin.  On the outside they have it all.  Good looks, money that God has “blessed” them with, fame and notoriety all because they believe in God but on the inside, doesn’t believe a word he’s preaching.  He knows that as long as he gives his people what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear, the money will keep flowing in like water.

Or perhaps you have a married pastor who is popular with his congregation, a great speaker, great sermons, engaging and loving to his congregation and the community.   However, what the congregation and the community doesn’t know is that this pastor has a history of domestic violence.

These are just a few generic examples.  What happens when we see these men of God living one thing on the outside, but what’s going on on the inside, comes out into the open?  Our hearts our broken and we feel betrayed.  The non-believers make a case that Christianity couldn’t be true, and those who are weak in their faith walk away in disgust.

It’s like that old saying, “Actions speak louder than words”.  Jesus is warning us today about those who live a life like that.  He’s warning us about those people in our lives who portray something on the outside, but on the inside believe another.  He is warning us about those who want you and I to think everything is ok on the outside, but on the inside really isn’t.  We all know someone like this.  A family member, a co-worker, a friend, and yes, even ourselves.  We’ve all done it, we’ve all been there.

Jesus can repair our souls and get us out of this internal despair.  Jesus want’s us to be happy, and that ultimate happiness can only come through him, with him, and in him.  Everything else is just smoke and mirrors created by the Devil.  The $50k pickup truck, the vacation to Hawaii every year, the mind numbing drinking every day, the domestic violence, the anger, hate and rage, non of it is going to fix the real problem in our lives.  The separation and emptiness associated by a lack of Jesus in our lives.

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