What Is Important?
Distinguishing between Reality and Appearance.
One of the quietest authors/playwrights in English history is William Shakespeare. when I took a college course in Shakespeare I approached it with some skepticism as to whether or not he would have much to tell me as a young man. I found that every play I read had some major theme that was relevant for all time. One of these themes was the conflict between appearance and reality. In Shakespeare words, he told us that "all that glitters is not gold" and that "not every cloud engenders a storm". He further noted that "things sweet to the taste prove in digestion sour". It is time well spent to go back to the great masters of literature and reflect on their themes because truth is not limited to a time or a people. We, like the people of Shakespeare London, are living in a world of false images where it is hard to sort out truth from reality. It's a world where a political candidates hairstyle is more important to his campaign than his stand on world issues. It is a world where we know each other so superficially that some of our best friends are those who speak to us from a television set or twitter anonymously on a cell phone. It's a world where our dream homes are the slim facades of a television movie set, a world where we as humans put on facades because we are not quite sure people will like us without a veneer.
The danger of all of this is that we become so confused between appearance and reality that we put our faith and trust in the temporary rather than the eternal, spending our lifetime chasing elusive butterflies. It becomes easy to give importance to people because they are simply visible (Kim Kardashian) or the meaning of a job because of its notoriety. We seem to let those things which seem most pressing pull us away from those things which, in reality are more important. For instance, we begin to think of wealth, power and influence more important than personal integrity.
Appearance and reality, if only we could put labels on them so people would recognize them for what they are and act accordingly. but, appearance has a way of seeming demanding, immediate and important. Reality, quite often dressed in simple clothes fades into the background. Most of us do not feel we have time to stop and ask ourselves "what is really important"? So, a father will miss his sons football game or daughters musical performance but not his business meeting. There is plenty of time to read the latest mindless bestselling novel but not time for reading scriptures. We learn to love being served rather than serving. On day when we can see clearly with diming eyesight, appearance with all of its false gaiety and self-seeking will take its final bow and reality will take center stage. Then we will realize whether or not we have put our faith and time in their proper place.
Pastor Hans Lillejord