December 5, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: Signage

If you go to my Facebook page, you will find two photographs of me.

These two photographs present to the world the persona I want presented. I control the signage regarding my social media presence.

The photo in the lower left corner inset shows my wife Marianne with her head on my shoulder.

The photo in the background is a perfectly timed shot (Thank you Linda Daniel) of a spent shotgun shell, including the wisp of smoke that was created by the blast, being ejected while I was shooting skeet.

So, in only a few seconds, I have programmed anybody in the world who views my page to believe that there is a woman in my life that I love with all my heart and that I enjoy shooting skeet, or at least shooting my shotgun. Which, by the way, all are true!

However, in reality, the exact opposite could be true. The point is that the only way people have of forming their opinions of me on Facebook (or in life) is by viewing the signage I present! And all they can do is take my word that what I’m presenting is reality.

Years ago I worked with a gentleman at Rubbermaid in LaGrange, Georgia. Every once in a while he would look at me and say, “Rev., you don’t know me. All you know about me is my name – and you’re just taking my word for that.” He would go on to say, “And they call me, ‘The Fooler!’”

Way back yonder when, I had no clue as to the depth of wisdom from whence he spoke! However, life and years of experience have taught me that all we really ever know about somebody is the signage they present – and many times they could be named, “The Fooler!”

Most folks I know, including myself, struggle with some level of authenticity issues. We think that if people really knew us they wouldn’t like us. You see, fear is the enemy of transparency. Therefore, we have become proficient at developing our signage and presenting a persona to the world we think they will like and accept.

Accuracy makes no difference. It’s our life, our signage, and our persona. So, we present it the way we want. We learn how to perform for others. We become expert at faking it. And unfortunately, all too often we lose ourselves somewhere in the process. We lose our real identity to our fake one and struggle to cope.

The good news is that Jesus isn’t interested in our signage. He is not interested in the persona we want to present. He is not interested in fake. He is interested in what’s inside of us. He wants to know us on the level where we transact our real business. And He is not afraid of our transparency. Our deepest, vilest faults do not deter Him from loving us.

Developing a real relationship with Jesus Christ means coming to a point where we are no longer interested in performing for others or faking it. It means realizing that Jesus is looking for the real us and that He wants a relationship with us.

Years ago there was a TV gameshow entitled: To Tell the Truth. The show featured the story of someone who had done something notable in their life. They would appear on the show along with two or three imposters.

A panel of celebrities questioned the contestants and tried to determine which contestant was telling the truth. At the end of the questioning they always called for the real-life owner of the story to stand. They were required to tell the truth.

I’m convinced Jesus feels the same way about us.  I’m sure He wants to know the real you and the real me.  And the good news is that He will love us – for who we are.  So, let’s put all our signage away and get to the business of being who God created us to be!

Brother Aaron  


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