It Ain't What It Seems
'Face Of A Clown
‘Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure for ever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.’ Proverbs 27:23 – 24 (NIV)
Praying one day, I asked the Lord, ‘what shall I teach at church for the coming Sunday?’ Suddenly the subject title, ‘It Ain’t What It Seems’ came to mind. As I reflected on this title and what it meant, I thought about the people in the Church that I run. I realised that most of the congregation were not satisfied with their lives and although they were going through difficult times they were putting on a mask for the sake of others.
Many were serving in the Church, doing the right thing, but deep down their hearts and minds were troubled and they were desperate to find the answers to their difficulties. As a leader I realised the responsibility that I had been given and that was ‘people matter more than programmes’ a quote by Steve Chalk. People love, compassion and care, not just responsiblities.
As I reflected more and more on this subject title, the Lord led me throughout the week to open my eyes to the reality of the struggles that people were facing. One evening before going to bed, I thought about a book written by Ruth Graham, the daughter of a well known preacher, Billy Graham. Her book was called, ‘In every pew sits a broken heart.’ In her book she talks about the pain she felt in keeping quiet about the problems she was facing in her personal like. Her husband had been unfaithful with another woman, and because of her position in the Church she could not confide in anyone about what was happening. So she put on her mask. A mask that said everything was alright and she continued to serve.
The following morning, I woke to find one of my daughters reading quietly beside me in my bed. I leant over to see what she was so engrossed in. As I read a part of it, it was about a young girl who was a Christian and she had not been going to her house group for a long time. Although everyone welcomed her back, no one asked her if she was okay or asked if anything had happened in her life. If only they knew the truth. She had had enough of the long services and craved the personal identification. She needed to know that people actually cared about her and not just about the programmes. The ironic thing about this story was that it was a confirmation that I needed to speak to people at the end of my services, rather than rush around to get things done. Reflecting, I remembered saying to two people, ‘thanks for coming.’ I realised it was not a case of saying thank you but ‘how are you.’ They didn’t come to a party they came for help.
Just because someone is not crying it does not mean they are happy. When we see someone with a big smile on their face, cleanly dressed, we automatically believe life is good and even if they have problems, they’re alright. A friend of mine, who suffers from a personality disorder, always walks around with a smile on her face. I once mentioned this to her and she responded by saying “Face of a Clown” and smiled again. “What do you mean?” I asked. She explained the face of a circus clown and how they are always painted with a big smile face, and they mess around, BUT they also have tears painted on too!
I have gone through many trials and tribulations and so have many of us, but the one thing I know I must remember, just because I may feel secure in the Lord, it does not mean the people he has given me to care for do. A smile could be hiding sadness and tears could be because of joy. ‘It Ain’t What It Seems.’
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