Wednesday, February 11, 2009

keeping up appearances

Jesus declared that religious leaders in his day, actually those who overall had the highest reputation, did everything to be seen by others. Their religion and their life was wrapped around what others thoughts of them. They wanted to be honored and held in high esteem. They were concerned about praise from people, not praise from God- that had no regard for them.

Reading that, it set me to wondering just how much we want others to think highly of what we do and say. Of course we want to be good examples to others. But this needs to stop short of others thinking just how great we are. Rather we should hope that others might see Jesus in us. And there is a beauty to that, but that beauty is not intrinsic to ourselves at all.

I like to think and talk about theological issues. I find that at times I can talk too much and we can lose out on the simple beauty of seeking to live it out in the ordinary every day aspects of life. And if I'm not careful, I too can fall into the trap of wanting others to think a certain way about me.

But Jesus told his disciples and he tells us, Don't call anyone your special or honorary teacher, don't think you're a head above anyone; you are all one family, brothers and sisters. We're to simply live in that grace and love we find in Jesus. To be humble and seek to learn from others. To be ready to confess our sins to another brother or sister.

What would you like to add to these thoughts about keeping up appearances?

12 comments:

The Wingnut said...

Guilty guilty guilty!

I have been convicted of this over and over.

And my blog is a perfect outlet for that as well, so I am constantly struggling with writing for God's purposes or mine.

Am I doing this for the comments and the readers? Or am I doing this because I am trying to glorify God?

Too often, I think my answer is somewhere in between those two, with emphasis on the worldly desires...


wingnut

nAncY said...

keeping up appearances is the name of a british comedy that use to be on the public tv station here. very funny about a woman who's desire was to be seen as socially well placed.

it had other characters, like her husband, sisters, brother-in-law, preacher and wife, and so on, that were affected by her antics.

it was interesting how one could see a bit of oneself in each of the characters.

as far as your post goes, i can see why each of us needs to think about this issue of how we regard others, and how we want others to regard us, when speaking about life in Christ and the Word of God...or doing anything for that matter, i guess.

i know that i can talk about life in God and then ignore how i actually live it out. my talking and writing helps me to digest the imformation. though, it is much easier to talk about something than it is to live it out in faith. yet, i think that if done correctly, that talk can be an encouraging thing.

i think that this post has very important things to keep in mind and prayer, and i am glad that i had a chance to read it.

so much of this is part of living in faith to a lot of us.

Kim said...

I also immediately thought of the british comedy! Gotta love Hyacinth...
I digress. I've sometimes fallen on the extreme opposite of this, actually - not caring at all what others think...and the result is the same - an overblown sense of "me-ness" and forgetting my purpose in life of glorifying God.
I've also seen entire churches that were overly concerned about "keeping up appearances." Great post, Ted.

preacherman said...

Wonderful post for s all. Thank you brother and hope you have a great day.

Lanny said...

That last paragraph... good thoughts.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Wingnut,
I hear you. I had to work through that, but I'm sure it's still a matter of growth which involves awareness of such, on my part.

There are other factors involved in this as well. It's not wrong to be thankful for and even delight in the gift God has given us. But it's a gift for humbly serving others in love, and that more often than not is in relative obscurity. But we need to embrace that in our lives, as part of the way of Jesus for us.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
I was wondering why that hasn't been on at our house, lately. So it's not on anymore. Yes, a lot of good humor on it, and the theme of keeping up appearances done quite well (like a broken record at times, to me).

Yes. This is where we all live. To follow the way of Jesus is to care what God thinks, and go from there.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Kim,
Good and interesting points. Yes, true, I'm afraid. I'm thankful to be part of a fellowship of genuine loving people.

Yes, I too have sometimes done the opposite as you say. And it becomes all about me. Wrong, of course. Not helpful to me or anyone else.

Thanks.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Preacherman,
Thanks. You have a blessed day as well, brother.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks, Lanny. Glad you're evidently feeling better.

Sam Marsh said...

"it set me to wondering just how much we want others to think highly of what we do and say."

So true for me too. When Jesus described the Pharisees as 'hypocrites', he was using a Greek word from the world of Greek drama, meaning 'the mask wearer'. He's saying that they are religious play actors.

I too am guilty of this kind of play acting, yet meet in Jesus one who would remove my masks and love the 'real me' enough to begin me on the journey of change...

Ted M. Gossard said...

Sam,
Excellent points and well worded. Amen. So true and really, so wonderful.