Sign Painters

“… do not be like the hypocrites …” (Matthew 6:5)

When I was a poor college student I saw a sign in a window that read “Shirts Done 20¢.” I gathered up a pile of my dirty shirts and took them into the store. To my utter disappointment I was told, “We don’t do shirts. This is a sign shop. We just paint signs!”

A spiritual heavyweight of another generation wrote that when we read the book of Acts we cannot help but allow the thought that God oversold the product when He wrote the New Testament. Another great preacher told the story of how a cat crawled into a model house in a new real estate development where it was many degrees below zero. It curled up in front of a fake fireplace and froze to death. He then preached that people are doing that when they come to our churches. Looking for warmth, love and Gospel truths that can set them free from their sins, they “curl up and freeze to death.”

Jesus was even more honest and realistic than these two preachers. He called the spiritual leaders of His day “hypocrites.” This was the word used in that day for the play actors who wore false faces or masks that looked like the characters they were portraying.

Rather than decide that you are the true disciple and be judgmental of those who are not, ask yourself some questions: Are you, and the spiritual community of which you are a part, false or true? Are you authentic disciples of Jesus, or are you hypocrites? Are you seeing God’s grace changing lives?

Are you cleaning shirts or are you just painting signs?

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