Monday, June 24, 2013

You May Not Like What You See

Leadership Magazine sends me emails with stories for sermon illustrations. If you go to my church, you may hear this one again someday, but I couldn't resist making the connection between authenticity and significance for all my fan here.

Check it out.

A town in Northern Ireland spent a lot of time, effort, and money sprucing up its image for the arrival of some special guests. On June 17-18, 2013 the world's eight most powerful leaders gathered in the town of Enniskillen, Ireland for the G8 summit. In preparation for the special guests, which included President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the town put up fake storefronts on shuttered businesses.
Dan Keenan, a reporter for the Irish Times, reports that the image-conscious village leaders "filled the shop front window with a picture of what was the business before it went bankrupt or closed." In other words, grocery shops, butcher shops, pharmacies, etc. placed large photographs in the windows so that if you drove past and glanced at the window, it would look like a thriving business.
Keenan continues,
It looks as if the door is open and inside you can see a well-stocked shop. It's nothing of the sort. That door has been locked shut for well over a year because that particular business went bust this time last year, and that is an image to make it look as if everything is normal in the town and in the county, but unfortunately it's not. [In reality, the entire county] has suffered terribly as a result of the credit crisis and the resulting recession.
Interestingly, Keenan also claims that the ordinary citizens of Enniskillen are skeptical of these shallow attempts to make everything look rosy. They'd rather present the town in its most positive light without attempting to mask its current financial problems.

Andrea Crossan, "Northern Ireland Town Fakes Prosperity for G8 Summit," PRI's The World (May 2013); submitted by Van Morris, Mt. Washington, Kentucky

Does this sound like anyone you might know? When we are willing to give up authenticity for the sake of looking good in the eyes of other people, everyone loses. You may not like what you see when you look at me, but this is the package.

I wouldn't even say you have to take it or leave it. I'm not about to be too proud and loud about who I am. That's my point. I am striving to live my life the way I believe would make Jesus proud. The goal is for me to become less. It won't always be pretty, but the path to insignificance doesn't need to be.

But it does have to be true.

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