Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: ARTIFICIAL (08/11/16)
- TITLE: The Case of the Flying Leg
By Pat Small
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“No.” My curiosity was through the roof.
“Because you’re real.” They could not have given me a more treasured compliment.
Isn’t authenticity something we all look for and long for? We are bombarded daily with television commercials promoting medicines, products, seminars, movies and programs they tell us we must have. Politicians promise the proverbial “pie in the sky”. We become more and more cynical with each faulty product, medicines with frightening side effects, and broken promises. Things are not always what they purport to be. We are looking for the real deal.
My friend Denise reminded me of the first time we ate out together. She says she will always remember my unusual question. “Are the potatoes in this place real?” I went on to explain that when we lived in Brazil we had fresh fruits and vegetables all the time. Therefore, our family nursed an aversion to frozen, canned, boxed or otherwise altered produce. Our eight-year-old daughter had once embarrassed us as she pushed her fruit salad around, finally pointing to an oddly shaped piece. “What’s that?”
“That’s pineapple, honey.”
“It sure doesn’t look like it.”
I was left to explain to our hostess that it didn’t look quite the same as what she was accustomed to, fresh from the market. I could only hope she was not too offended.
When our boys were in college, they played soccer. That was what they had grown up doing. I got a play by play of one exciting game. The opposing team was good. Eddie saw they were gearing up to try for a goal. He quickly kicked the ball, just in time. As he did so, his leg flew off across the field. He dropped to the ground. Time stopped. Mouths flew open. The ball rolled off to the side of the field, unnoticed. A girl’s loud sobbing evidently roused an official who finally had the presence of mind to stop the clock. A visiting medic rushed onto the field. Players from both teams gathered around. Spectators sat in stunned silence. Eddie was carried to the sidelines where he calmly replaced the prosthesis someone had gingerly retrieved.
The game resumed.
Eddie’s leg was artificial, but he was definitely the real deal. No one but he and his mother know what she said to him that fateful day when he was twelve years old and discovered he had lost a leg in a farming accident. Whatever it was, it made a world of difference.
Biblical examples abound of God testing individuals. Job is, perhaps, the most notable example. He lost his family, his possessions, and his health. Even his wife suggested he “curse God and die”. Yet, Job proved that there was nothing phony about his faith. With suffering far greater than most of us will ever endure, he remained faithful. He proved that his faith was true.
Just as we humans dislike dishonesty, falseness, and insincerity, so also does our heavenly Father. Dozens of verses speak to the issue. I especially like Mark 7:6-8 in the Message. It is so painfully clear.
“Jesus answered, ‘Isaiah was right about friends like you, hit the bulls-eye in fact: These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their heart isn’t in it. They act like they are worshiping me, but they don’t mean it. They use me as a cover for teaching whatever suits their fancy, ditching God’s command and taking up the latest fads.”
If that isn’t a picture of the artificiality we see displayed daily, what is? There is a hurting, lost world around us. Are they seeing playacting hypocrisy in us, or sincerity as we go about our daily business? Often it is the former. Maybe we should not be surprised with the drug use (both legal and illegal) around us, the failed marriages, and the unethical business practices.
We will be held responsible before God. It is a frightening thought. I, for one, don’t want to be saved “yet so as by fire”. I want to hear “well done thou good and faithful servant”, and no doubt you do as well. Are we behaving in such a way that we can reasonably hope to hear His commendation?
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