Have you ever seen something that just looked odd? Like there was some inconsistency in what you were observing?
When we were on a trip recently, we were sitting in traffic when a mini-van pulled alongside of us. The name on the … well, here is a picture of the vehicle:
In case you are not looking at this in color, the cab is gray. The name is in black. And, the name of the company is “Yellow Cab”. [Please note, I am not in any way saying that the company is bad or that the driver of the cab was inconsiderate. I am only commenting on the difference between the name and the color of the taxi.]
I started laughing and Bill then noticed the inconsistency and he, too, chuckled. A discussion then ensued about why we were laughing – what made it funny.
Obviously it was the inconsistency between the yellow in the name and the gray of the vehicle. Yellow cabs, by definition, are yellow, at least that is what they usually are!
That discussion then went into a discussion of how upset we are when we think something is one thing when, in fact, it is quite different.
Christians are to be imitators of Christ.
“You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”
John 13:13-15 ESV
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35 ESV
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20 ESV
“… For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch, the disciples were first called Christians.”
Acts 11:26 ESV
Disciples of our Lord are to follow Christ’s example and His commands; that is what the title Christian implies – we are followers of Christ. And, His example at the Last Supper was that of being a servant to others, with the specific commandment that His disciples love one another, just as He had loved them. Before ascending into heaven, He directed that the disciples were to make disciples, baptizing and teaching others. In Acts, we read that the early church met together and did what Jesus directed, and they were first called Christians in Antioch.
So, service, love, teaching and obedience to our Lord are central characteristics of a Christian. How does that fit with someone who puffs themselves up before others, and then belittles folks behind their back? How does that fit with someone who refuses to participate in helping those in need? How does that fit with someone to will not associate with other believers in church?
Jesus had something to say about those who say or do things for the wrong reasons:
“”Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”
Matthew 23:23 ESV.
The hypocrites arrogantly tithed absolutely everything, but they ignored those in need!
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
Matthew 23:25-28 ESV.
From a spiritual perspective, the what is on the outside is irrelevant: it is the heart that matters. The hypocrites looked good on the outside, but inside was a different story!
I thought about that gray yellow cab and wondered if that was a picture of me.
When people hear me speak of my Lord and Savior, the outside identifies me as a Christian; but then when they hear me blast the restaurant server, do they still see me as a Christian? When I drive my car, with its fish decal on the back representing me as a Christian, and then I cut someone off, is my driving witness consistent with what the decal affirms?
In other words, is my witness inconsistent with my heart? Do I look like one thing in actions and in words while the underlying heart condition is vastly different?
Am I really what I appear to be? Are you?
Am I a gray yellow cab?
Father, forgive me for the times that my actions are inconsistent with the message that You have directed me to present to others. Forgive me when I am more like the hypocrites in Scripture than I am like the Christians who unashamedly presented Jesus Christ to all who came to them. Give me strength and the ability to do Your will as You direct and empower.