It’s easy to become confused by appearances. For example: Instead of flying to Florida, Karen, Molly and I drove our 2014 silver Hybrid Toyota Camry 3,668 miles to Leesburg where our daughter, her husband and their five children live. Fresno, California was one of our pit stops on the way.
We spent the night in a nice hotel and the next morning we checked out and brought the luggage to our car. We both stopped abruptly. A large dent and ugly scratch extended from the rear panel of our car up to the passenger door. We stared at each other dumbfounded. Karen ran her hand across the damaged surface of our car.
“Do you think a car sideswiped it while backing out?” She asked me.
“It was a tree,” a voice answered from behind us. We turned to see a short, middle-aged man walking toward us. “Yes, it was a tree. I saw the whole thing happen right before my eyes.”
Both Karen and quickly surveyed our surroundings. We were in a paved parking lot without a single tree in sight. He must have noticed the confused expression on our faces because he quickly added. “Oh, it wasn’t the entire tree. Just one it’s large branches hit it, so I suppose it could have been a whole lot worse.”
Neither one of us knew what to say. We just stood there exchanging glances between each other, the car and the little man. The air was thick with awkwardness so he added, “Yea, the damage to my car was bad enough but then I had to deal with my stupid insurance company….what a hassle.”
I quickly took a closer look at his car. It was identical to our car except for the Toyota emblem on the trunk. Mine is silver with a blue background identifying it as a hybrid; his didn’t have the blue background….ooops!!!
Karen and I let out a huge sigh of relief. A large mini-van was parked between his car and ours blocking the view of our Camry. We both told him how sorry we were about his car and then scampered over to ours.
Looks can be deceiving. I worked for Seafirst National Bank when Karen and I were first married. We had weekly meetings and at one of these meetings, a man brought some counterfeit money. He passed out the fake bills so we could examine them. They looked real to me. I asked him if our bank could keep some of the bogus bills so the tellers had more time to study them. Then we could better tell the difference between them and the originals.
He laughed and shook his head. “You don’t study the counterfeit to recognize the original; you study the original to expose the counterfeit.”
“Why’s that,” another teller asked.
“Because counterfeit bills will often change slightly in appearance or texture depending on who is making them. The originals stay consistent in both appearance and texture.”
The same principle applies to Jesus. He is the original; the only true son of God. Many have come or will come proclaiming to be Jesus, God, or a prophet who has the answers to life’s many questions concerning the afterlife, morality, good vs evil, what is truth and how to attain happiness. But there is only one who was born of a virgin, performed miracles, was crucified to take all of humanities sins on His shoulders. But He rose from the grave, defeating death so that we can have salvation if we believe He is who He says He is: He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
But there is a being in this world who is just like those counterfeit bills. He hates us so he lies to us. His aim is to deceive us from the truth and keep us from knowing Jesus. He is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing looking to devour the flock…which is us.
So what can we do to keep us from being deceived? We must study the original. By reading the Bible, we can get to know Jesus. By prayer we can communicate to the creator of the universe. By attending a good church we can worship our Creator and have fellowship and be encouraged by other believers. This is the only way to keep from being deceived.
On our travels, Karen and I stopped to eat at Cracker Barrel. After a yummy dinner we paid for our meal, walked across the parking lot and climbed into our 2014 silver, Hybrid Toyota Camry. Once inside, I noticed that the windshield mounted GPS holder was gone. Then I noticed that the car seemed a lot messier than when left it to go eat. Then I noticed the Honda emblem on the steering wheel. We’d gotten into the wrong car!!!!
Either old age is taking its toll on Karen and I or we need to do a better job of studying the original.