Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Church

August 3, 2013

No more show and tell

(Continued)

The word “hypocrite,” in its original context, is not a negative description. It is a great old word right from the Greek and Roman theaters of ancient times that means “play-actor.” A hypocrite was a person who played multiple roles on the stage. In one scene he or she played one character. Later, the actor would don a mask or a costume and play another character – maybe three or four different personalities on stage in a single night.

But over time a hypocrite came to mean a person who changed his or her mask depending on the circumstances. As Jesus used the word, a hypocrite was one who played to the crowd. He or she was someone who performed for the audience – like Elmer Gantry – and at points, like every one of us.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said that hypocrites “receive all the reward they will ever get.” If you play for the crowd, he inferred, if your ambition is to draw attention to yourself, then when you get it, you earned your pay. There is no further reward, benefit, or other prize. God has nothing for you but an empty hand.

Alternatively, Jesus offers a healthier way. “When you give,” he says, “don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. When you pray, go to a closet and shut the door. When you sacrifice for a cause, don’t broadcast it.” In other words, keep your religious activities on the quiet side; as much as possible, keep it between you and God. Otherwise, you risk corrupting what would be a good deed.

No matter what it is: Missionary work, teaching, preaching, giving, praying, singing, organizing, helping – if it is done to impress or draw the attention of others, no matter how noble the act, it is wrong – for if it is not driven by love for God and neighbor, it becomes driven by pride and ego.

My friend Landon Saunders said it superlatively many years ago. Commenting on the religious tendencies for show-and-tell he suggested that we, “Wear our religion like we wear our underwear; make it rarely visible.” That’s good advice, indeed.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.

Text Only
Church
  • A positive minute: Reunions are something to look forward to Donna and I recently made our way to Shelbyville, Illinois where we met up with her siblings and their families at Lake Shelbyville. The campgrounds were well-kept, clean and very peaceful. The rooms and the lodge were very nice.We had a great time w

    July 19, 2014

  • We could learn a lesson from rodeo: Either let go...or be dragged A friend who has some experience with rodeo horses sent me a most picturesque proverb: “Let go or be dragged.” Whether this phrase was first spoken by a Zen master who had achieved enlightenment on the mountainside, or by a battered cowboy nursing hi

    July 19, 2014

  • Church Briefs Liberty Baptist ChurchSunday, July 20Liberty Baptist Church will have Sunday School in the Fellowship Hall at 10 a.m. with the Lesson being, “Overcome Temptation” from 1 Corinthians 10: 6-22; Devotional Reading: Hebrews 3: 7-14, and Background Script

    July 19, 2014

  • Church Briefs Sandcreek Baptist ChurchWhat a wonderful Fourth of July weekend! The weather was perfect and the parade was even bigger and better than last year. Enjoyed seeing all of the children with their bikes, some riding in wagons, etc. Hope you were there to

    July 12, 2014

  • Poverty has its advantages I must confess to a severe case of poverty. I never took a vow of poverty; it just seems to have worked out that way for me. I am so poor the church mice have packed their bags and moved on. If I knew where they moved to, I might join them.Being poor

    July 12, 2014

  • A positive minute: Facing the wind Do you remember those great stories out of the Old Testament of the Holy Bible?Stories like when Abraham trusted that God would take care of his need when he was about to sacrifice his son and at the last second God provided a lamb thus saving his so

    July 5, 2014

  • Church Briefs Sandcreek Baptist ChurchWell, I was right. There’s nothing like the food at a church pitch-in along with cook-out hamburgers and hot dogs.As usual, I ate too much but just had to have some of that blackberry dessert. We had a good day and as usual th

    July 5, 2014

  • chu-gb070514 McBrayer pic Keeping the faith: A garden in the wilderness More than a decade ago, former Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court installed a massive granite monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of the Alabama State Judicial Building. Two years later it was removed by cour

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • A positive minute: Never alone Psalm 46:1 – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”Do you remember the movie Home Alone? Somehow this child was left at home when the family left for a vacation. What happens is rather humorous as two bumbling thieves attem

    June 28, 2014

  • Identity theft and who you really are I received a mystery package recently, opened it up, and discovered a popular appetite suppressant inside. Sprinkle this magic powder on your food, the included literature instructed, and allegedly it would cooperate with your sense of smell to curb

    June 28, 2014