AND THE OSCAR GOES TO
by paul hoffmaster
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There are some great actors and actresses that entertain us with their gift of role playing. It is enjoyable to see plays and screen performances that carry one into imaginary scenarios. From grade school to the theater stage and the golden screen, there is the journey from giggles to standing ovations for those who dare to express a role of make-believe and character adaptation.
Some of the greatest performances today are not on the stage and screen of the theaters, but in the pulpits and pews/chairs of the churches. Some of the best performances for a leading role belong to Pastors whose life style, outside of the pulpit, is more conducive to an entrepreneur who strives to be a co-owner of “the cattle on a thousand hills.” (Ps. 50:10) Many churches are alive with actors and actresses instead of disciples and believers. Some are role playing instead of living a life as a follower of Jesus. Some learn the language, but only speak it around other actors. Some open the pew Bibles on Sunday, but leave their own Bibles closed during the week. Some join in corporate prayer, but fail to carry on a conversation with God daily. Some exhibit faith in small challenges, but fail to walk in faith during difficult times. Some keep their wallets closed to the Lord, but open to their own needs and wants. Some role-play how well things are going, when in reality they are struggling. We can fool all the people some of the time, but we can’t fool God any of the time. Your fellow actors may nominate you for an outstanding performance in the appearance category, but will you hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant” when you stand before the Lord? (Matt. 25:21)
Hypocrisy is playing a part under an assumed name. It is imitating or impersonating another. The Bible speaks of hypocrisy, or a form of the word, 36 times. Jesus addresses the issue 19 times in the three synoptic gospels. It was the religious community that received the blunt of His chastisement. The Jewish leadership taught Biblical truths, interspersed with editorials and interpretative teaching, but the real problem was that they were not living what they expounded. Today, Satan would nominate his demons for best supporting actors in their role of playing innocent teachers in sheep’s clothing. Special Effects would go to his evil spirits for their performances in changing the content of God’s Word to mean something completely different than what was intended by the writer. Nominations for best actor would go to Christians who imitate true Believers. Original musical score would go to churches that have carnal beats with Christian lyrics.
The entertainment value of “playing church” is immensely satisfying. To some actors and actresses there is the satisfaction of attending Worship once a week. But to the true Believer, the Sunday experience is a pause that refreshes; it is a time of refueling and fellowship with other Saints that have been living their week in service of their Lord.
Let each one of us take a closer look at our lives. Are we playing a role, or are we the real thing? Have we memorized our lines, or are we a living epistle? Are we walking our talk? Are we truly contending for the faith, or are we just spectators waving the flag of allegiance? If we walk like a hypocrite and talk like a hypocrite, then we must be a hypocrite. If we want God to be true to us, let us learn to be true to Him!
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