What is this a picture of?

RI 022

I was really pleased at the way this picture turned out; what a beautiful old home! Don’t you get a sense of the charm of yesteryear when you look at it?  It just oozes the best of late Victorian living… can’t you just smell bread baking and hear the sound of playing children?

But not everything is what it appears to be.

This is a funeral home.

Yes, it used to be a beautiful turn of the century home, but now it is full of the business of death. This is a principle that goes all through the Bible, and there are many examples of things that are not what they appear to be.  Sometimes, this phenomenon even applies to people who appear to be leaders in the church.

 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.  In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

Matthew 23:27-28

All of us are susceptible to temptations and problems of the soul, and we must take care that we keep on the right track, and away from the slippery slope.  The other day I was speaking with a Christian brother who has struggled with temptation off and on and who remains concerned by the prospect of falling away from the Lord’s presence. I shared with him something that has helped me from time to time when I am tempted to go in the wrong direction and I’ll offer it to you.

I often ask myself two questions:

1. Do I really believe that what I believe is really real?

2. Will I remember to ask myself the first question when temptation is at hand?

When I do, the temptation is over, after all we have died to sin through Christ.  If I don’t ask myself those questions, I have a struggle on my hands.

Yes, as we go through the adventure of living with Jesus Christ, we need to be wary of the things of this world, and we should also be wary of becoming something of this world!

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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11 Responses to What is this a picture of?

  1. Gziz Frique says:

    This hit me right between the eyes: ” Yes, it used to be a beautiful turn of the century home, but now it is full of the business of death.”

  2. daylerogers says:

    Wow. How often do I need to be reminded that this life is full of the business of death apart from Jesus. Beautiful word picture–and picture. Stark reality for sure.

  3. WOW! Can I say it again? WOW! Brother Don what an inspired take on the Scripture!! I am in awe brother that you can take something the Holy Spirit reveals to you and literally astound!! Now before you feel this is unjust flattery, I’m not flattering you, I’m stating a truth! The more I read your articles, the more we get to talk, the more I am impressed with the way you can condense a book of ideas into a thought! What a great and awesome spiritual gift!

    The business of death and not being what the outside make it to appear! I was just writing LM about that very thing concerning discernment. I know that might be a stretch, but when we see that our Heavenly Father judges us by our heart and not how we look or appear, it is so apparent that we need to be sensitive to this spiritual gift so as not to be fooled as the last of Matthew 7 speaks of!!

    God bless you Don! I’m spending my worship time reading and learning from my brothers and sisters today and I HAVE BEEN FED!!

    • Don Merritt says:

      Roland I an constantly amazed by how you share from your abundance! For anyone who reads this, did you notice what Brother Roland just said? His worship time today has been spent reading, praying, reflecting… and he has been fed spiritually in the process. Now, do you see what Brother Roland is doing? He is sharing with the rest of us; feeding us with his comments. He isn’t simply saking it all up for himself, he is taking his fill and sharing his abundance with the rest of us, and in so doing is a model for everyone!

      Thank you so much Roland for leading us into loving discipleship!

  4. Very interesting post, as usual. I find it funny – when I started reading the post, and I saw the picture, I too saw a beautiful Victorian home…I didn’t go further in the post for a while, as I thought this was a contemplative post and I was processing the picture further. I am passionate about 19th century Christianity and have studied it quite extensively. As I looked at this beautiful house, what immediately came to mind was the domestic sphere. This referred to the separate home-life of the women and children of the Christian, middle class home. In this space, the wife and children were protected from the outside influences of the secular world, while the husband set forth into the morally wretched secular world. The wife would maintain a pure, Christian household, teaching the children and the servants the way of the Gospel. So, to me, the home was a haven…especially here with the home painted a pure white.

    So, this is how the Victorian middle class attempted to protect Christians during “..the adventure of living with Jesus Christ,…”. The women and children were to be separated from “…the things of this world, to prevent them from “…becoming something of this world!” and to help provide a safe haven for their men who had to brave the world.

  5. Kitsy says:

    I realize this is only obliquely related to only the beginning of your essay but have you ever thought about what a Holy place a hospital is? Think of all the praying going on, the last minute conversions, the angels being beckoned, and the spirits being released. Long before I knew I had the ability to be aware of the presence of the divine, I reacted to divine presence, unknowingly; my mother had been through quadruple by-pass surgery. The truly bizarre thing was, after her surgery, they wheeled her past our waiting room while she lay in the middle of a 9×9′ padded ‘platform.’ I would like to call it a bed but it was enormous and it was square. I believe beneath the covers, her body was packed with ice. She lay in the middle of it and she and all of the attached equipment was being rolled past us and into the recovery area of the ICU. Something or someone divine was at the corner of the platform and I went instinctively to my knees. I did not see anything but I felt the presence; it was divine and it was big, as in, important. I don’t know if it was there for us or for her…but I seemed to be the only one aware that it was there.

    My mother never regained consciousness and was declared dead within the hour.

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