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Character Support

June 4, 2012

Last summer, I took on the project of replacing the boards supporting our deck. I knew this was a project that needed to be done. I just didn’t know how urgently it needed to be done. I removed the decking from the top, only to reveal numerous rotten boards underneath.

In talking with neighbors, we found out the deck boards had been replaced about 15 years ago. The boards underneath were substantially older. In fact, they predated ‘treated’ lumber. Through the years, whenever a board started to show signs of weakness or rot, the practice had been to put another board beside it. In some places, I found four rotten boards all nailed together.

From the top, none of this was visible. A new layer of boards to walk on made the deck appear perfectly fine. However, the good boards had been placed over bad wood. Fortunately, we found this out before anyone got hurt.

The deck is a powerful reminder to me that changing what shows without changing what’s underneath it (usually holding the visible part up) is dangerous. Our human nature leads us to live ‘veiled’ lives. We may use our clothes, our activities, our language, or even our church to help us look better on the outside.

However, the real transforming work of the Jesus starts in our hearts. Our lives are undergirded by our faith and our values. No matter what we put over the top, it will never be stronger than the substance underneath it.

As you think about your life, how are the unseen parts? When people look at you, do they see what’s real, or a cover for what is underneath? If you are thinking about a makeover, remember, working on the unseen parts will ultimately give you the best appearance.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2012 2:13 PM

    Good word, Pastor Phil. I’m also reminded that we also need people in our lives to support us and help us in that work of uncovering what lies underneath and to serve as a mirror to ourselves.

  2. June 4, 2012 2:17 PM

    Sophia, great observation. Wise counselors who help us see where the work needs to be done are a blessed catalyst for the transformation process.

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