by Dr. Steven Rummage, pastor
Bell Shoals Baptist Church
It happened years ago in a small community up in Massachusetts. It was one of those neighborhoods where everybody keeps track of each other and looks out for their neighbors. Everybody knows what’s going on with the folks across the street and those next door to them.
The people in this community became alarmed when Adele Gaboury, an elderly lady in the community seemed to be missing. They didn’t see her anymore. In the morning, she wasn’t out walking like she used to, and she didn’t go and get the newspaper like she used to in the afternoon, and so they began to wonder if something was wrong.
Adele’s neighbors informed the police that she seemed to be missing. The police department contacted her brother who informed the officer that Adele had checked into a nursing home and would no longer be in that home. Her neighbors were satisfied with that information and began to watch Adele’s property, just to look out for her to make sure everything was okay.
Her next-door neighbor, Michael Crowley, noticed her mail, which was delivered through a slot in the door, began to pile high, and so he opened up the door of her house, and hundreds of pieces of mail drifted out. He notified the police and deliveries were stopped. Then, her other next-door neighbor, Eileen, started paying her grandson 10 dollars twice a month to mow Ms. Gaboury’s lawn, and he mowed her grass and kept up the shrubs, and everything looked nice on the outside.
One day, that very boy, noticed that the pipes had frozen and the water was spilling out the door, and so the utility company was called to shut off the water. Her neighbors did everything they could to keep the outside of her house looking good.
But what no one guessed was that while they had been trying to help, Ms. Gaboury had been inside her home the entire time.
After four years, the police investigated the house as a health hazard, and when they did, they were shocked to discover Ms. Gaboury’s body. The Washington Post reported that police determined that Ms. Gaboury had died of natural causes four years earlier.
Now, there are many questions about that story that are really disturbing to me. But here’s one thing that is absolutely beyond question: everything on the outside of that house looked great, but something was terribly wrong on the inside of that house.
You know, something similar can happen us. We can appear great on the outside when there is something terribly wrong on the inside.
We can look like we are spiritually alive on the outside and be spiritually dead on the inside. We can have all kinds of religious activity happening on the outside. We may go to church, sing songs of praise to the Lord, read our Bibles, use religious language, and yet there’s nothing but spiritual death and decay and corruption on the inside.
When what is on the outside doesn’t match what’s on the inside spiritually, well, Jesus has a word for that, and the word that Jesus uses is “hypocrisy.”
God’s word tells us in2 Corinthians 13:5:
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
Have a great day, and keep moving forward!
Published June 3, 2014 at “Moving Forward”
an e-devotional site by Dr. Rummage.